Report: Pet deaths prompt tougher rules for flea, tick items

“More dogs and cats are becoming ill – and in some cases even dying – from flea and tick control products, prompting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to place tougher restrictions on the insecticide treatments commonly used on pets and to require revisions to labeling to help pet owners use the products properly.”

The Patriot Ledger continues:

… According to the report:

Death occurred in 560 pets in 2007 and 640 in 2008 related to the use of flea and tick products.
Major illnesses occurred in 610 pets in 2007 and 740 in 2008.
Minor illnesses occurred in 5,100 pets in 2007 and and 27,000 in 2008…

Having much experience with EPA “statistics,” we are of course suspicious of these figures.

Read the entire report.

23 thoughts on “Report: Pet deaths prompt tougher rules for flea, tick items”

  1. Wonderful, another precinct heard from.

    Sorry Ben, there was no backtracking at all; again, read the original post. I never said her use of expletives DISPROVES anything (Sara’s words; not mine); what I said (and I’m not backtracking, Ben) is that her use of expletives results in a loss of credibility with people who are intelligent and thoughtful (that is, with a brain). Credibility is not the same as proof; if you don’t have credibility (no matter what the reason – good or bad), then whatever “proof” you offer is not likely to be taken seriously. That was my point; sorry if you missed it.

    That she felt “insulted” because she was called out for lack of decorum in her language just emphasizes her inability to maintain what most would call an “adult” conversation. The blogosphere is famous for ranting and raving, and lots of people get excited by such participation, and if that’s all you want, g-d bless you. If you want intelligent conversations, you need to act appropriately. Did you notice that no one else in this conversation had to use such language to get their point across? If you find me offensive, that is your problem, not mine. If you find Sara’s use of profanity “effective”, just imagine how much more effective she could be with more people if she avoided it And the truth is that no one knows my involvement in this issue or my experience with my own pets, since I never discussed that issue.

    Take care.

  2. Larry, you explicitly stated that she lost credibility through her (actually quite restrained and effective) use of profanity. Don’t backtrack now.

    Quite frankly, I find you offensive, and your inability to be concise is a far greater detriment to effective presentation than anything that Sara said.

  3. Of course you “fail to see”; you also fail to read and understand what was said – you’ll have to look real hard to find where I said your language disproves your thesis (hint: you won’t find it because I didn’t say it). Leave out the expletives, and you have a more powerful presentation. That you fail to understand that basic point of communication simply means that you are not going to be taken seriously by serious people. If you are not looking to be taken seriously, congratulations, you have accomplished your goal. I’m sorry if you feel insulted for being called out for your choice of language; intelligent people generally can make their point in more appropriate language.

  4. I fail to see how my use of expletives disproves anything I stated. Your inability to communicate your opinion and ideas without insulting me speaks volumes about your own credibility and how little direct experience with the matter at hand you have. Were you one of the thousands of pet owners whose pets suffered or died, I’m certain your opinion on this matter would be different. Yes, I am outraged these toxic chemicals are allowed to sit on shelves, posing serious risks to not only cats and dogs, but children and adults.

    Of course most incidents were minor. This was never a point of confusion for me. However, this does not change the fact there were substantial major incidents and deaths. Otherwise, there would not have been a study. I have analyzed the EPA Public Advisory in detail and feel the reported number of deaths and major incidents to be completely unacceptable, especially since certain brands reported significantly more deaths and major incidents than others. How many deaths and major incidents do you feel to be an acceptable number?

    Unfortunately, there were many incidents that were due to misuse, but the report does not state all or most incidents were due to this. When analyzing the individual incident reports, there were many major deaths and incidents reported even when the product was used properly. Furthermore, there were some major incidents and deaths attributed to the fact that manufacturers mixed up packages. Of course consumers are going to misuse a product if it’s labeled for the wrong animal.

    The EPA Public Advisory also clearly states, several times, that there is a concern regarding inert ingredients as some have toxic properties and that a review of inerts is pending.

  5. Similar comparison: dropside cribs. In use for 40 years by a hundred million babies. My mother, the <5' lady that she is, would have had major problems without them. Now, they are banned because of a few dozen deaths caused by complete rank incompetence of a few people.

  6. Similar comparison: dropside cribs. In use for 20 years by a hundred million babies. My mother, the <5' lady that she is, would have had major problems without them. Now, they are banned because of a few dozen deaths caused by complete rank incompetence of a few people.

  7. Amazing…. people like Sara lose all credibility of any kind when they use language such as she has. Her inability to communicate without use of expletives speaks volumes about whether anyone with a brain will now take her seriously. This is not the place for such activities.

    Now, about the original report. If you read it in the Patriot site, it looks like new info. In fact, it is reporting a March 2010 (TWO YEARS AGO) release by EPA. If you would like to read the report, here is the link:

    What were the major findings? See the following excerpts. Note that MOST incidents were minor, and most likely the result of inappropriate application by the owners..
    Over the past year, EPA conducted an intensive analysis of the pet product incidents. In spring 2009, EPA noticed an increase in pet incidents being reported involving spot-on pesticide products for pets. EPA received a large amount of information on individual reported adverse pet incidents from the companies that hold registrations for these products (called the registrants). EPA also reviewed other information that was submitted.

    EPA formed an expert veterinarian team to thoroughly analyze the data. EPA also partnered with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), our counterpart agency in Canada, on the review of this analysis. The team studied incidents involving cats and dogs, looked at both active and inert ingredients, studied product labeling, and discussed data needs for the future to improve analyses and regulation.

    EPA found that the products could be used safely but that some additional restrictions are needed. EPA’s team of veterinarians learned that most incidents were minor, but unfortunately there were some pet deaths and “major incidents” reported. The Agency learned that the most commonly affected organ systems were dermal, gastrointestinal, and nervous.

    Dog Findings: EPA’s expert veterinarian team found that
    small breed dogs were affected more than larger breeds for some products
    the amount of product in a single dose needed to vary more for small to large dogs – that is, how much the dog weighs matters a lot in deciding how much of a product should be used.

    Cat Findings: EPA’s expert veterinarian team discovered that
    misuse or accidental exposure of cats to dog products was an important problem; cats can be harmed by dog products; and
    label warnings against use of dog products on other animals, especially cats, are not working well enough and this appears to be a global concern.

    Safety Testing: The team also found that the data we now require to determine the safety of these products for pets do not accurately predict the toxicity seen in the incidents that took place.

    Based on results of the analysis, EPA is taking action. By taking the actions listed below, many of the adverse effects in pets can be prevented. The Agency also believes that providing more information to the public is important so that people can make the right choices for their pets and use these and all pesticide products safely.

    Safety Tips for Flea and Tick Pesticides

    People should carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for any signs of an adverse reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time. Pet owners may also want to consult a veterinarian about the responsible and effective use of flea and tick products, including whether the use of these products is necessary. Owners should consult a veterinarian about the best way to protect their pets from fleas and ticks, especially before using any product on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products.

  8. We use these products and neither animal, dog and cat, have had a problem. But there is a problem if the dog one is given to a cat, the cat will die. So be careful to ensure the correct product to the right animal.

    It must also be remembered that the diseases carried by ticks are much worse than the prevention used so for the animal’s sake use them.

  9. It sure looks like a problem in dealing with the measurement of exposures. If you sit in an ER, you would say that automobiles are killing and maiming our kids. That is because a sample of cases taken at the ER would include kids killed and maimed by definition of ER. But almost every child is in or near a car every day. That is the exposure needed to calculate risk. A similar mistake is made in taking data at the vet’s office. Fleas are a real pest to our pets and relief from them is a godsend for the animals. The risk from anti-flea products must be mighty small. People LOVE their pets.

  10. Flea and tick products like Hartz have killed and injured thousands of pets for decades. See for claims from the past decade. Hartz’ counterparts include BioSpot and Sergeant’s.

    Veterinarians adamantly disapprove of these products because cats and dogs come into their clinics needing emergency care for severe vomiting, diarrhea, foaming at the mouth, tremors and seizures. Pets die from these products because either a) too much of the toxic chemical has been absorbed for treatment to be effective or b) the owner can’t afford the treatment and is forced to euthanize their pet. Products sold at the Vet are proven to be safer for animals than over-the-counter flea and tick products, however, there are concerns for even the “safe” chemicals’ effects on our general environment. For instance, some studies suggest imidacloprid (the active ingredient in Advantage and probably the most reputable flea product brand) has contributed to the disappearance of bees.

    A lot of disreputable over-the-counter flea products have the same active ingredients as more reputable brands. However, the EPA found deaths varied greatly by brand despite having the same active ingredients, meaning there are inert ingredients within these products that are toxic. So, when you see a label that says S-methoprene 2% (chemical with low toxicity to mammals) and Other Ingredients 98% and your cat starts having fucking seizures and dies, common sense tells you there is something terribly wrong with the proprietary ingredients.

    The EPA released a Public Advisory in March 2010 that detailed their findings of 2008 spot-on flea product reported incidents. The results of this study were that many of these products were found to cause death and major incidents (seizures, etc.) in pets even when used properly. To say the EPA is taking their time removing these products from the shelves of every major supermarket, pharmacy and even major pet care stores would be an understatement.

    The bottom line? Don’t ever put any of this toxic shit on your animals. Talk to your Vet. Research natural alternatives.

  11. Maybe the Veterinarian lobby is pressuring the EPA to ban over-the-counter flea and tick-control products. The same tactics are used by the human medicine lobby. I can’t buy 4% hydrocortisone over the counter to cure my eczema, but the 1% hydrocortisone that is available won’t do the job.

  12. Simply put, no one KNOWS what those pets died of; exposure to pesticides or something else. The odds are that most of them would have been dead even in the absence of the pesticide! These anecdotal reports prove nothing; rigorous testing of the hypothesis that “these pesticides affected my pet negatively” is what is needed.

  13. My experience with a Boxer mix incredibly sensitive to flea bite this particular attempt to manufacture consensus has me concerned the EPA might ban the most effective treatments. Or that vet groups might expand their monopoly on effective treatments. Either way this has me scratching.

  14. If the flea and tick control products are from China, like the dog food that killed dogs, ’nuff said.

  15. Here is the real key. A host of veterinarians were consulted and their advice was, don’t use these on your pets without consulting a veterinarian. Not to be suspicious or anything but veterinarians now charge almost as much as physicians. Some may want to become the highly paid gatekeepers for simple substances that provide some protection from fleas and ticks because they can make a lot of money that way. Note how they talk about “pet parents”. Not content with thoroughly and completely controlling medical practice the government now wants to control how we care for our pets.

  16. Given that pets practically outnumber people in the western word i fail to see the ‘danger’ of pesticides. More people die of pure bad luck a minute then pets in a year by those numbers.

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