Flea and Tick Treatments Alert

Sep 29, 2018

It feels good to scratch that itch!
Credit Tobias Klüpfel [Flickr]

Sure it feels good to scratch an itch, but in a pet it could be a sign of a flea problem.  While it's important to keep your pet healthy (and that includes keeping fleas and ticks away), consult with your veterinarian about the best and safest products to use on and around your furry friend.


A couple of months ago, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about a potential threat to dogs who were fed a grain-free diet. Last week the FDA issued an Alert, warning dog and cat owners about certain flea and tick products. 

Five years ago a new chemical class of pesticides called “Isoxazolines” were introduced in veterinary products designed to fight fleas and ticks. Isoxazolines (which are synthetic compounds manufactured using industrial chemical processes) have been very effective in treating, controlling and preventing flea and tick infestations.

Although the FDA has approved use of these products, it is now alerting pet owners and veterinarians about the potential for what they call “adverse events” in dogs and cats that are treated with products in the isoxazoline class.

There’s no question that fleas and ticks are a problem for our pets, and pose their own dangers. Fleas can cause skin irritations and internal infections like tapeworms. They are prolific, which makes them hard to get rid of. And as weather cools down, they will try to make their way inside your heated home. But ticks – those are the bad guys, transmitting things like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Plus they are harder to kill than fleas. It’s no wonder pet owners are looking for products that are easy to use and effective against these pests.

So when the FDA began receiving data indicating that some animals treated with products in the isoxazoline class experienced serious problems like tremors, ataxia and seizures, they issued the alert to pet owners, warning them to be aware of the potential for adverse neurologic events when using these products on their animals. The FDA is not recalling the drugs but is working with manufacturers to add warnings to their labels.

You can read the alert on the FDA website at FDA.gov. And if you notice any changes in your furry friend after using a flea and tick preventative, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your best friend’s life may depend on it, when you’re speaking of pets.