Did you know that the FDA issued a warning about flea and tick medications just over a year ago? They stated that flea and tick medications containing isoxazoline were causing adverse neurological events in dogs and cats such as ataxia, muscle tremors, and even seizures! So, why are we still using them? Before we answer that question, let’s talk about why flea and tick control are important.
Why Flea and Tick Prevention is Important
Fleas can be harmful to our pets in many ways. Fleas cause major skin irritation. In fact, many dogs are allergic to fleas to the extent that flea bites cause flea allergy dermatitis. Flea allergy dermatitis may cause excessive itching, inflamed and irritated skin, infected sores, rashes, hair loss and even bleeding in extreme cases. Fleas can also cause tapeworms if your dog or cat ingests a flea with a tapeworm. Symptoms of tapeworms include weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and of course visual evidence of the tapeworm in feces. You may also notice lethargy and/or your dog scooting his bum along the ground. Tapeworms are treatable and just like with anything else, early detection is key. The earlier you catch it, the less likely your dog is going to suffer more extreme health issues such as dehydration.
Then we have ticks! These nasty little buggers cause many diseases including Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. Lyme disease can be particularly dangerous to dogs and if not caught early may cause kidney failure. Symptoms of Lyme disease include lameness caused by inflamed joints, fever, lack of appetite, and a decreased activity level. Babesiosis is a disease that will literally destroy your dogs red blood cells and is therefore a very dangerous disease. The symptoms of Babesiosis may include weakness, fever, dark urine, and/or jaundice. Veterinarians will often look for pale mucous membranes, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged spleen when they suspect Babesiosis. This disease is often not detected early enough, due to a lack of visible symptoms, and unfortunately by the time it is recognized, the damage may already be done. Ehrlichiosis is also a very scary disease because it can spread very rapidly. Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis may include fever, sores, nose bleeds, lethargy, lack of appetite, and difficulty breathing. Treating this disease may require a blood transfusion depending on a blood cell count.
What You Can Do About Fleas and Ticks
As you can see, fleas and ticks can be very threatening to our pet’s health and prevention is necessary. But do we need to use the flea and tick medications which contains isooxazoline? The short answer is no! Isooxazoline containing products are effective against pests because they are pesticides and as such can be very dangerous to our canine and feline companions. You can read the FDA’s alert in regards to isooxazoline here: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/fact-sheet-pet-owners-and-veterinarians-about-potential-adverse-events-associated-isoxazoline-flea
There have also been earlier warnings about the adverse neurological effects of isoxazoline as well as studies showing adverse neurological effects across different species.
The good news? We do not need to use this prevention method! There are many natural flea and tick preventatives such as Flea Free food supplement. Flea Free protects our pets from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, mites, flies, and internal parasites. Additionally, it contains vitamins and minerals that support a healthy coat, skin, and digestive system.
So to answer the question of whether we need flea and tick prevention, yes, we do need some sort of flea and tick prevention. However, we do not need to use products containing isoxazoline when there are natural and effective options of flea and tick control available.