Leny, our four-year old, much loved Lab/Sharpei cross, had four very frightening grand mal seizures yesterday, just two days after we gave her a dose of Biospot. We had administered other doses to her in previous months, at first with no problems. Last month she seemed uneasy and uncomfortable after the dose--I wish we had paid attention to our gut feelings then.
Beez and I were out, but luckily my sister was here at the house when Leny started seizing. That good, brave Auntie Bucksnort got the pup right to the vet, though she was shaken up for the rest of the day after seeing the seizures. Leny is back from the veterinary hospital now and is doing well. The Biospot should be out of her system in another 3 days; her blood tests all indicated no visible lasting damage at present. She is on Valium for the next couple of days and phenobarbitol for the next month.
We thought we could save some money with this cheaper alternative to Frontline. We are very, very sorry now and hoping that we have not inadvertently caused lasting damage to our good friend and beloved family member. Oh--and by "saving" on Biospot, we ended up with a $240 vet bill. Not that we hold that against the vet--my point is that sometimes what looks like a savings is far from it!
I found a website, BioSpotVictims.Org that has some great information on the problem. It has many, many firsthand stories from pet owners. The author of the site, James TerBush, has been extremely helpful, and has provided the following links (quotes from the sites are in italics; bolding is mine for emphasis):
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Increased Scrutiny for Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets.
This page was last updated 4/20/09 and reports as follows on an increased incidence of reported adverse effects:
Adverse reactions reported from the spot-on products range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and in some cases death. Over 44,000 potential incidents associated with registered spot-on products were reported to EPA in 2008. Pesticide registrants are required by law to submit information to EPA on adverse effects resulting from the use of any registered pesticide. The seven products in the table below represent about 80% of that total.
-National Resources Defense Council: GreenPaws, For People Who Love Their Pets:
Over the last 8 years, NRDC helped remove six of the most dangerous toxics from pet products. But we need your help to get rid of the rest.
BioSpot is one of the brands listed by the EPA as containing dangerous ingredients, and I would never go near it again anyway--but so is Frontline, so I'm not sure where we will turn next. I had been worried when I learned that some prairie dog populations are host to infected fleas that carry the plague bacteria. We are surrounded by prairie dogs here in eastern New Mexico, but looking at the Centers for Disease Control plague incidence map has eased my mind, since there haven't been any reported cases in this part of the state (for the reported years 1990-1997). So, I guess we will be trying some non-chemical flea and tick control methods.
If you have any suggestions or stories about flea and tick control, please share them via the comments section.