We’ve always preached about the dangers of using traditional flea products, but if the FDA warns against them it’s time to take even more caution. Veterinarian prescribed and over the counter flea products are used by millions of pet parents yearly. Most of these treatments are administered monthly as a preventative. You’d think that these products are safe if they’re sold in stores or recommended by your vet, but that’s not always the case.
An active ingredient in many of these common flea treatments (including Bravecto, Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio and Revolution) is called isoxazoline and the FDA warns against this ingredient on their website saying, “The FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinarians of the potential for neurologic adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with drugs that are in the isoxazoline class.“
The fact sheet they released says that this ingredient can cause muscle tremors and seizures. However, they still continue to “approve” these products for pesticide use on animals, both topically and internally.
A group of veterinarians and pet parents conducted their own study on this ingredient and the results were mind boggling. Of the 2,751 survey responses, 66.6% reported adverse events/reactions to these pesticides! Dr. Judy Morgan, one of the vets included in the study, said that less than 1% of pet parents or veterinarians actually report side effects.
Using Traditional Flea Products On Cats
Maybe you’ve been using these products for years and haven’t seen a side effect… yet. But does your kitty have behavioral issues? Are your cats more stressed than the average kitty? These neurological side effects don’t just cause seizures. They can affect your cat’s behavior because it affects the brain.
Let’s say you don’t use flea products in the isoxazoline class. Are your kitties in the clear?
Another study was conducted on the effects of the active ingredient in many other flea products, including Frontline. This ingredient is called Fipronil. The study states, “Fipronil is a phenylpyrazole insecticide that is widely used as a pesticide and a veterinary drug, although studies suggest that it could be toxic to mammals.“
Do you know what this means? This means that these flea products are toxic to you and your family as well. Fipronil from these flea products are shown to be polluting the ocean and one single dose can kill up to 50 million bees! The reason the topical solutions must be put on the back of the neck is because if your cat licked it she could die. The warnings on the side of the package include “Avoid contact with eyes or clothing. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum or using tobacco or using the toilet.”
And you want to put THAT on your cat?
Listen, I’m not here to bash anyone for using chemical flea medications. I get that fleas and ticks can be a problem in some areas. I get that we want to protect our cats from being bit or harmed by pests and parasites. I’m only here to offer the facts around the short and long term side effects that come with using these traditional flea treatments.
There are many alternative options to protect our kitties from fleas and ticks. There are plenty of natural solutions that work just as well, if not better, and won’t leak toxins into our cats. If you are able to use a safer option, please do. For your cat’s sake and for your family’s sake.