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The FDA says your pet’s flea and tick treatment could cause neurological damage

Published Sep 21st, 2018 12:59PM EDT
flea tick medication
Image: ETersigni

Keeping your dog or cat up to date with preventative treatments so they remain free of fleas and ticks is something that every responsible pet owner should do, but a new alert from the FDA suggests that one particular class of these drugs could cause some pretty serious adverse effects.

In the newly-issued alert, the FDA names Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard, and Simparica as approved drugs in the isoxazoline class. These drugs are not being recalled or banned, but the FDA has felt the need to alert pet owners to the possibility that the drugs can be potentially troublesome for some pets.

The FDA is quick to point out that the majority of pets that have been treated drugs from the isoxazoline class haven’t experienced negative side effects.

“The FDA considers products in the isoxazoline class to be safe and effective for dogs and cats but is providing this information so that pet owners and veterinarians can take it into consideration when choosing flea and tick products for their pets,” the FDA explains in its bulletin.

That being said, some serious neurological reactions have been reported, including seizures in animals which have no history of such symptoms. The FDA has been collecting and monitoring reports of these types of reactions from drugs in this class and urges pet owners who notice anything odd to contact either the FDA directly or any of the manufacturers who produce the drugs, including Merck, Elanco, Merial, and Zoetis. Contact information for these companies can be found on the FDA’s bulletin.

The bulletin urges pet owners to consider whether these drugs are appropriate for their particular pet. “Many products are available for prevention and control of flea and tick infestations,” the FDA says. “You can discuss all options with your veterinarian to choose the right product for your pet.”