The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to veterinarians and pet owners who give flea and tick medication to their animals. The warning states that the FDA obtained data showing that some pets who were treated with flea and tick prevention pills and chewables from the brands Bravecto, Nexgard, and Simparica experienced “neurological adverse events,” which include muscle tremors, seizures, and ataxia.
All of these medications contain a pesticide called isoxazoline. This is also an ingredient in medication from the brand Credelio, which just received FDA approval. The FDA says that even though they review data and studies prior to approving any medication, some problems only come to light after products are distributed to a larger population. They monitor products closely for three years after approval to catch these issues.
What Is The FDA Doing About It?
Even after this warning, the FDA is not retracting approval for these medications. Also, they insist that these products are safe and effective for most pets. Instead of retracting approval, they are working with isoxazoline product manufacturers to include warnings about neurological adverse events on medication labels. The FDA believes the warnings will help veterinarians and pet owners better understand the risks of using isoxazoline products when making decision about flea and tick prevention.
In the meantime, the FDA is calling on pet parents who use products from the brands Credelio, Bravecto, Nexgard, or Simparica to report any concerning side effects they see in their pets to the manufacturers. If your pet has experienced side effects, you can call the numbers below or report directly to the FDA by clicking here:
Merck Animal Health (Bravecto): 800-224-5318
Elanco Animal Health (Credelio): 888-545-5973
Merial (Nexgard): 888-637-4251
Zoetis (Simparica): 888-963-8471
What Are Some Safer Ways To Prevent Fleas And Ticks?
If you don’t want to rely on prescribed medications to prevent fleas and ticks from biting your pets, there are a few options you can discuss with your veterinarian and try. Many pet owners recommend Wondercide, which is a product that uses cedar oil. You can find our DogTime review of Wondercide here.
Several homemade solutions can also keep the fleas and ticks away. Apple cider vinegar can be made into a spray (two parts vinegar to one part water) that repels pests. Neem oil is another product that can be mixed into a topical flea and tick repellent. Additionally, oils like lavender, rosemary, thyme, or cedarwood can be used to make solutions for homemade flea collars. Cedar chips also repel pests, and you can spread them around your home or garden where your dog likes to spend time.
Sprays, shampoos, and other products on the market can be effective flea and tick repellents, as well. You should bring these up to your vet and ask for recommendations. It may take time for you to find options that you and your pet are comfortable with, but keep trying. Medication is only one of many solutions for keeping fleas and ticks off of your fur baby.
What do you do to prevent fleas and ticks on your pets? Also, are you going to switch from using any of these medications after hearing the FDA warning? Let us know in the comments below!