ASPCA: Inappropriate application of spot-on flea products poses greatest risk to cats

source-image
Jun 04, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
New York -- Misuse of spot-on flea-and-tick control products poses the greatest risk to cats, according to ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.

The finding came today from ASPCA epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Slater who analyzed data from public calls managed by ASPCA about flea-and-tick control products. ASPCA receives more than 150,000 cases a year involving medications, insecticides, plants and foods.

The data identified two key findings:

• When cats were treated inappropriately (not per label directions), they are significantly more likely to experience severe reactions: no illness despite a call to the ASPCA (18 percent), mild illness (17 percent), moderate illness (45 percent), major illness (19 percent) and death (2 percent).

• When dogs and cats were treated correctly (per label directions), the likelihood of severe adverse reaction was significantly less: no illness despite a call to the ASPCA (7 percent), mild illness (69 percent), moderate illness (22 percent), major illness (2 percent) and death (0.1 percent).

“The important take-home message is that, although adverse reactions can occur with all flea-and-tick products, most effects are relatively mild and include skin irritation and stomach upset,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of ASPCA’s Animal Health Services.

“Pet parents should not discontinue using products as directed by the product label when faced with a flea infestation,” he adds.

ASPCA’s prepared remarks follow an EPA advisory issued last month about increasing reports of adverse events associated with flea-and-tick spot-on products.