January 12, 2008

Warning about OTC Flea Medication!

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up about topical flea treatments that are sold OTC. Apparently the boxes do not disclose all of the known adverse reactions and the result can be deadly to our pets. I will preface this by saying that I am one of those dog people and my furbabies are family.

Here's a copy of the email that I sent to Wal-Mart (the Sergeant's site limits the amount of characters that you can use so I have to parse it down to send to them):

I am writing to you concerning a distressing experience that I am having after using a product purchased at my local Wal-Mart. After noticing fleas on one of my two dogs earlier today, I purchased Sergeant's Gold Flea & Tick Squeeze-On For Dogs. Within an hour or so of applying 1/3 of the application to each of my dogs (I'm always cautious with any new medication) I noticed that the youngest one was drooling excessively and not being her usual active self. She was just sitting and watching me and her brother, which is TOTALLY the opposite of how she is. I immediately grew concerned because of the drooling. I wondered if it was some sort of allergic reaction and something told me to wash it off of her... I'm thanking God that I felt the need to use something stronger than her regular shampoo and used dishwashing liquid (I happened to have Dawn on hand). It's a few hours later and she's no longer drooling but she's still not totally back to normal.

As for my other dog, he started gagging up globs of spit about an hour ago and is very restless. I've washed him with Dawn several times as well and I'm praying that my pets are ok by morning. After I washed them both again I sat down and googled the symptoms and was surprised to find that there are entire blogs and sites dedicated to this issue. Some pet owners even report that their pets have died after coming into contact with these products and that they’ve contacted Sergeants directly to notify them of the issue.

I'm extremely distressed and concerned for my pet's health and I'm ticked that these problems are sold OTC with the only warning being a possible rash or hair loss. I NEVER would have purchased the product if I had known about these other possible reactions. These allergic reactions (I'm assuming that's what they are) can be life or death situations and consumers should be alerted to watch out for these symptoms and given instructions on what to do when they arise. The ethical thing for Sergeants would be to list these reactions on the packaging (or as a package insert) but since the issue still isn't resolved I would love to see Wal-Mart look out for the furry members of our extended community and pull this product from it's shelves. I would appreciate some sort of response from your company addressing my concerns.

A Concerned Pet Owner
Altamonte Springs, FL

I don't know if I'm more ticked off that I seriously doubt that I will receive a response from either company and Sergeants will continue to poison other pets. Or that this could have been avoided... My dogs are on Sentinel so the fleas would have probably died within a few days but I didn't want them to suffer through bites in the meantime. I think the fleas were brought into the house by a friend's dog that I dog-sat a week ago. My instincts told me not to keep him but she swore that he had been completely checked out by a vet and had no problems. The final straw should have been when she was dropping him off and said that he wasn't fixed... now this chick knew that I got my female dog a couple of months ago and that she hasn't been fixed yet because she hasn't reached the minimum weight. I really try to be a good person but why do good deeds come back to bite you so often?