What’s going on with the new information regarding the Isoxazoline Flea and Tick Products

Part of the Isoxazoline line

We are always looking for ideas for our blog articles from all of you, but sometimes a great opportunity for an educational moment presents itself at a perfect time. We have gotten a number of calls and questions about what might be ‘bugging’ you this week.

Recently, the news aired about a particular class of flea and tick medication and some of the potential side effects. As we would expect worried parents to do, many of you have reached out to us for more information and with concerns. We would like to address some of the most common concerns here as best we can, but PLEASE call us with more information.

The damage a flea can do…

I’m going to start out with a brash statement, but I’ll say it. There is no perfect flea and tick medication. That may seem strange for a veterinarian to say, but if there were, you would not have all those options at multiple vets’ office and the store. The best flea and tick prevention is what works best for your pet, in multiple forms: lifestyle of pet, reactions or potential reactions, lifestye of us as Mom’s and Dad’s, cost, and accessibility. We are aware that all these things factor into choosing the best possible flea and tick medication for your pet. The one option I do not recommend unless discussed with your veterinarian is electing no protection at all, especially for those high risk patients.

Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are on the rise. We also know that animals don’t need to go outside to get fleas and ticks. Because of the dog’s ambient body temperature being much higher than ours, they are the preferred tasty morsel to many of these blood-sucking creatures. Fleas can spread a myriad of other diseases as well, including cat scratch fever and (scarily enough) the bubonic plague (ugh!). Prior to stopping your pet’s preventative, please contact your veterinarian or your veterinary team who best knows your pet!

Now to address the more specific concern that has many pet owners frantic since September 20, 2018. What about these flea and tick preventions that can cause seizures, tremors, and mass chaos in the pet owning industry?

I’ll first address why we have these products. Simparica, a name brand drug from this product line, is what I personally use in my own dogs (Jada is a 13 year old proud heeler and Kodak is a 10 year old ball of adorableness).  The reason I chose this medication for my personal fur-children is because of the above mentioned reasons: life-style, ease of administration, and n

Jada (right) and Kodak (left)

o reaction to the medication

This medication can have side-effects, and we do not want to discount that by any means. These medications can have abnormal reactions in 1 in 10,000 dogs. If your pet is one of these affected, it can be very scary and very real. Therefore, give these medications on a full stomach, monitor for reactions, and use with caution in pets that have a history of neurological concerns or seizures.

This class of drugs is given by mouth, so it does have to go through the body to get ingested by the flea and tick. The side-effects can sometimes be seen depending on how sensitive your dog is to this type of medication. While for the majority of dogs it is safe, each pet is different, and this should be considered.

This warning has been on the label of the medication since its initial launch. The reason this made the news is not having to do with massive outbreaks of reactions, but because the FDA is required to evaluate new products every 5 years. Since this class of drugs was up for this, the FDA made public the possible side-effects. Ideally, the news story would have also included this information along with discussion by the FDA or a veterinarian for the public to have a clearer picture of what could occur.

My 2 critters are still safely receiving this medication as their monthly flea and tick along with most of the other Blue Ridge staff and thousands of other pet owners in the United States and Europe.

Ticks carry many dangerous diseases

Remember, always give with food to decrease possible side-effects. Monitor for any strange behavior within 24 hours of administration. Wait at least 24 hours between vaccines or other injectable medication prior to giving the medication.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please let us know if there are any other concerns you would like us to blog about or any other questions you would like us to answer! We won’t know what’s ‘bugging’ you unless you (or the news) lets us know!

Thanks again for stopping by,

Dr. Jessica Tracy

Blue Ridge Animal Hospital