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10:08 AM   April 19, 2014
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ASPCA Releases Spot-On Flea, Tick Control Study

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently released data demonstrating that cats are more susceptible to illness and death as a result of the misuse of spot-on flea and tick control products.

The data, collected by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, revealed that when cats were not treated 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).

“Products labeled for dogs must never be used on cats—doing so can result in serious illness and even death,” said Louise Murray, DVM, medical director of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. “A veterinarian must always be consulted before using spot-on flea and tick treatments on very young, old, sick or pregnant pets.”

The data also indicated that the overwhelming majority of animal illnesses associated with proper use of spot-on flea and tick control products are mild.

When dogs and cats were treated per label directions, the data showed that 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,” said Steven Hansen, DVM, ASPCA veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president Animal Health Services. “Pet parents should not discontinue using products as directed by the product label when faced with a flea infestation.”

The ASPCA maintains that using products as directed and making necessary adjustments based on health will greatly reduce adverse reactions from flea and tick or any other medical products. Fleas cause anemia, carry tapeworms and can transmit infections such as Bartonella. Ticks transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The risk to pets from these diseases is greater than the risk of adverse reactions when products are used appropriately, according to the ASPCA. <HOME>

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