NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I have a young 19-pound cavapoo. The dog had an adverse reaction to Vectra — agitation, rapid heartbeat, bulging eyes, snapping, etc. We took him to the vet immediately, and the vet indicated that it might have had a reaction.
I asked the vet for a suggestion of a less-toxic brand and tried Advantix. The dog had a rapid heartbeat and was agitated. I immediately bathed him, and he slowly calmed down.
What natural options are there for pest control, as it is clear he has adverse reactions to the chemicals? He had a tick recently, and with his shaggy hair, I’m concerned he’ll pick up fleas.
— M.T., Sea Girt, N.J.
Dear M.T.: I appreciate you contacting me. I am sorry that you and your dog went through such terrifying ordeals with these products. A dog in a borderline seizure state or experiencing rapid heartbeat and having a panic attack are not the kinds of reactions the manufacturers like to make public.
I have written about these biocidal products that you used on your dog that are being widely marketed by veterinarians and via other outlets across the country, even though they can have harmful side effects, even causing death.
On my website, you will find a full review of steps to take in an integrated way to keep ticks and fleas at bay. I also discuss Bayer’s Advantix line of products, which I do not consider any safer than Vectra.
An Environmental Protection Agency report warns that propoxur, a flea-killing chemical in flea collars marketed by Sergeant’s Pet Care Products and Wellmark International, is unsafe for children. However, the products can be distributed until two years from now, and retailers can continue to sell them after that until the stock is gone.