Monday, June 29, 2009

EPA Investigating Adverse Reactions to Flea and Tick Products

An increase in reports of adverse reactions among pets to topical flea and tick medicines has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to intensify its scrutiny of these products. The products have not been recalled, but the agency is warning pet owners that the treatments may have serious, even fatal, side effects.

This investigation, according to the EPA, is due to some 44,000 complaints over the past year that the EPA has received from consumers. This represents a 53% increase over the previous year. Approximately 1,200 of those reports accounted for animal deaths.

Spot-on flea and tick treatments are applied topically, usually between the animal’s shoulder blades or along the spine. A majority of products being investigated appear to be Over-the-Counter (OTC) products rather than those obtained through a veterinarian. A list of more than 200 brands of registered products appear on EPA’s website.

According to agency spokesman Dale Kemery, the adverse reactions included skin irritations, hair loss and tremors. The E.P.A.’s report on liquid flea and tick treatments is expected by October and will be published on the agency’s Web site.

The appearance of counterfeit pesticide products for dogs and cats has further complicated the picture. On April 28, the E.P.A. warned distributors and retailers to stop selling counterfeit products with the brand names Advantage and Frontline, and to recall those already sold.

Consumers may call the National Pesticide Information Center at (800) 858-7378 to report a problem with the products. The agency has also advised veterinarians to report adverse reactions at the center’s Veterinary Pesticide Adverse Effects reporting portal.

To view registered products list visit EPA website at:

To view more information on counterfeit Advantage and Frontline, visit:

For the Veterinary Pesticide Adverse Effects reporting portal visit:

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