Often what we read looks like an article, but is really a clever piece of marketing designed to try to fool you, the pet owner, into believing one product or another has more benefit or a better reputation than it does. Review things with care and soon you will be able to spot these “articles” a mile away.
Today I read the AP article entitled Several new flea treatments join pet care market that left me stunned. I suppose I should not be surprised anymore at anything in this industry. The disinformation from supposed “experts” was so incredibly out in left field that I was left wondering how the ASPCA or those corporations who are making and marketing fipronil (the main ingredient in Frontline) generic flea treatments can not be embarrassed by it.
Let’s go through it, shall we?
Enter the soundtrack of a very bleak, black and white horror film… Dr. Kim Nicholas wants to scare you by telling you he has “lost several patients because fleas sucked the blood out of them.” Wow. Really? I know that Dr. Nicholas is from the Pacific Northwest, but I think he may be watching a bit too much Twilight.
Did you know that manufacturers often pay regular vets and clinics to try out new products, sometimes products that are not released for regular use because they are still pending EPA approval, in their practice? That’s oddly what this sounds like to me (my emphasis added):
A 10-pound cat was brought in covered with thousands of fleas and already suffering from anemia. Nicholas put a dose of the new product on the cat, laid it on a white towel and put it in a kennel.
“End of the day, the white towel was black with dead flea bodies. I couldn’t find a live flea anywhere. That really made a convert out of me, a real believer. It shows that used properly, these drugs are very effective and fast,”…
Odd. I wonder why he chose to let this poor, anemic, 10 pound cat who supposedly had acquired “thousands” of fleas sit in a kennel all day so he can check out fleas on a white towel instead of taking twenty minutes to bathe the cat in mild detergent soap like Dawn Blue, which is often used in extreme cases of infestation (but not on a regular basis for flea control). It works. It’s faster. It’s more humane. It’s safer.
MISINFORMATION #1: He calls flea products “drugs”. They aren’t drugs. They are pesticides and insecticides. That’s why most are regulated by the EPA and not the FDA.
When used properly, nothing kills fleas the way today’s topical and oral treatments do, said Nicholas, a vet for 27 years.
It’s a proven fact that fleas and ticks are developing a resistance to chemicals such as pesticides. Have you noticed that instead of lasting a month or longer, your Frontline or other topical only lasts about two weeks now? That’s because fleas and ticks are more resistant to it as they evolve. It’s the same for almost any other chemical used in pesticides. However, what they can’t build resistance to is mechanical means of control such as vacuuming, washing bedding, good nutrition, flea combs, flea traps and diatomaceous earth (food grade only).
MISINFORMATION #3 & 4:
Commonly used flea control products include Frontline and Advantage. They are sold online and in stores without a prescription and are packaged in individual doses for direct application onto the pet’s skin. Nicholas said they are considered very safe. “You put it between the shoulder blades so they can’t lick it off. I’ve never seen a bad reaction, except they might get a little rash at the application site.”
In 2009 the EPA was so concerned about a 54% rise in adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products, including Advantage and Frontline, that they put these products under scrutiny and began to investigate them. Apparently a product that causes over 4,587 adverse reactions and at least 93 deaths is safe in his eyes.
He also says he has never seen a bad reaction, but then goes on to talk about a common one… a “little rash at the application site”. Also, it is illegal to make any claims as to the safety of a pesticide because they, by their nature, are designed to kill.
I could go on and on, but the moral of the story is not to believe everything you read. This is a vet who is paid to be a mouthpiece for pet pesticide companies. They hire these shills to try to fool you into believing their product is something it is not and gain your trust. The fact that he uses standard phrases direct from pet pesticide PR firms should give you a hint.