The only downside to being a parent is the potential for a flea and tick infestation. Every pet parent has had to, or will have to, deal with fleas and ticks at some point in their life. So when new ways to prevent that nightmare from repeating itself are available, we are very much intrigued. Just one little dose can keep my pet from suffering the wrath of these insects for an entire month or more?? It sounds almost too good to be true!
Because it is.
Unfortunately these "medications" come with a heavy price [other than the actual monetary value, which we all know is a bit harsh]. When we think of the word medication, we think of a safe medicinal treatment that helps fight or prevent disease. But these flea & tick treatments are far from safe and far from being medicine. In fact, they are the opposite. They are insecticides. The same toxic chemicals we drown our yards in to keep bugs away.
Recently, the FDA released a warning about these oral tablets.
"Be aware of the potential for neurological adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with drugs that are in the isoxazoline class"
This warning includes the following oral flea & tick products:
- Bravecto (fluralaner)
- Nexgard (afoxalaner)
- Simparica (sarolaner)
- Credelio (lotilaner)
It also includes the following topical treatments as well:
- Bravecto (fluralaner)
- Revolution Plus (selamectin and sarolaner for cats)
The way this class of drug works is by attacking the nervous system of insects. The tablet (or in some cases, spot on) is absorbed into the dog's bloodstream and when a flea or tick bites them, the insect is exposed to the poison and dies. This means in order to poison the fleas and ticks, we first have to poison our pet. The manufacturers would have us believe that the dose is so small it doesn't affect our pets, but a small amount of poison is still poison.
The FDA approved these tablets but the typical length for a study to test these types of products is only a few months. Pet parents could use these drugs for years. So what happens when we give a small dose of poison to our pets every month or so for their entire life?
According to the FDA warning and the manufacturer's listed side effects, dogs could experience
- Appetite loss
- Behavioral changes
However, many users noted more serious side effects and took to Facebook* to spread awareness about the dangers of these products. In most of the testimonials, pets experienced
- Other neurological effects
- Kidney disease/failure
- Liver disease/failure
These symptoms prove the drugs can attack our dog's nervous system as well and wreak some serious havoc.
Instead of dousing our pets in insecticide once a month, we could use natural repellents and treatments.
Essential Oils - repellent
Flea Bath - a bath with foamy soap and a flea brush to remove the dead fleas
Apple Cider Vinegar - repellent
Diatomaceous Earth (food grade)- treatment that kills most insects and can be used on, in, or around anything.
With so many non toxic options out there, there is no reason to risk exposing our pets to even the slightest amount of poison. With so many pet parents coming forward with personal testimonies against these insecticides, we cannot ignore the potential for severe consequences after using any of these "medications".
So how much does it cost for flea & tick tablets? For some pets it can costs their lives.
Breakdown of the FDA warning
*FB Group "Does Bravecto Kill Dogs?"
*FB Group "Does Nexgard Kill Dogs?"