The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Massachusetts reporter Joe Reppucci's news and resources for those who love pets
The Ruff Report: Dogs and Health
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Joe Reppucci of Lexington, Mass., writes about dogs and keeping them a healthy part of the family. He has worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years and is a graduate of Lexington High School ...
The Dog Blog
Joe Reppucci of Lexington, Mass., writes about dogs and keeping them a healthy part of the family. He has worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years and is a graduate of Lexington High School and of Suffolk University in Boston. He writes often about nutrition, behavior and saving money on pet supplies and insurance.
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May 25, 2013 12:01 a.m.

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.
Spot-on pesticide products, generally sold in tubes or vials and applied in between a pet's shoulders or in a stripe along the back, have been the focus of "high-priority" monitoring by the EPA after some pets developed skin irritations, had seizures or have died.
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Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, says the agency is committed to better protecting the health and safety of pets and families. “New restrictions will be placed on these products, and pet owners need to carefully read and follow all labeling before exposing your pet to a pesticide,” he states in a media release.
Better labeling is particularly important because some incidents of illness and death have been linked to misuse such as a dog product being applied to a cat or a dosage meant for a large dog being applied to a smaller dog, according to the EPA.
Most people use the products with no harm to their pets, the EPA said, but the an analysis determined that smaller dogs tend to be disproportionately affected by some products and that the exposure of cats to some dog products is a concern.Among immediate actions that EPA will pursue are:
"Pet owners need to be cautious about using flea and tick products safely," EPA veterinarian Ann Stohlman states in a media release. “You need to take the time to carefully read the label, the package insert, and any accompanying literature to make sure you’re using the product correctly.”
The EPA recently met with officials from 13 companies that make flea and tick products as part of its evaluation of the products. According to a summary report of the meeting, the EPA established a team of veterinarians to review the incidents and the ingredients used in the products.
According to the report:
"The agency has historically had concerns about the increase in domestic animal incidents seen over the years and has been looking into this," EPA spokesman Dale Kemery told My Setter Sam. "As a result of the recent sharp increase in numbers of incidents specific to spot-on products, we are making this investigation a higher priority."The EPA put together a group of veterinarians who work for the Office of Pesticide Programs to review incidents involving spot-on products to help determine the cause, Mr. Kemery said. The group had discussions with registrants to learn more about the incidents and gather information to help inform the agency’s evaluation.
Some problems also have occurred involving sprays, collars and shampoos, the EPA reports, and it recommends that pet parents take precautions and consult a veterinarian when using flea and tick products on their dogs and cats. It says people should carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for signs of reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time.
When using flea-and-tick control products on pets, the EPA recommends:
If an adverse reaction occurs, bathe the pet with mild soap and rinse it with with large amounts of water, the EPA says. Keep the package with the product container (such as individual applicator tubes), so you will want to have the instructions and manufacturer's contact information.
The best time to treat a pet is at the beginning of flea and tick season, according to the EPA's Dr. Stohlman. The length of flea season, which peaks during warm weather months, varies depending on where you live. “It can last four months in some places, but in other places, like Florida, fleas can live all year long,” she states.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks are found in some places year-round. In most parts of the United States, the greatest chance of infection by a tick bite is spring and summer.
More reports about dogs and flea, tick and insect control:
Use of flea, tick products a must despite pet deaths
Stop ticks from dogging - or killing - your pet
Your dog may have you sleeping with thousands of fleas
Get pets ready for invasion of blood-sucking insects
Reports about dogs and oral health:
The stinking truth behind smelly dog breath
Simple home remedy can add year's to a pet's life
Reports about dogs and cancer:
Major breakthrough in canine cancer treatment
First-ever canine cancer drug developed
Making strides in fight against canine cancer
Worldwide effort to cure canine cancer
Reports about dogs and health:
A wonder drug guaranteed to help your pet
Try this fountain of youth for your pet
A handy way to stop pets from getting sick
This formula is certain to sicken your pet
An all-natural substance that makes pets sick
Only saps let their dogs play fetch with sticks
Your dog is at risk of getting the flu, too
Purebred dogs needlessly suffering, report says
Alarming rise in heartworm a threat to pets
Dog heart medicine research results promising
Cushing's drug receives FDA approval
Paralyzing diseases of dogs, people linked
More reports about dogs and health
The Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group for the environment, urges pet parents to use natural flea and tick control methods rather than products containing pesticides. It recommends frequently using a flea comb, regular bathing of pets, and regular vacuuming and washing of a pet's bedding.
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