EPA Flea Advisory Update Imminent

If you have been following this issue for any amount of time, you know that the EPA issued a flea product advisory back in April 2009 related to the spot-on flea products.

Reported negative reactions from topical flea products increased 50% from the previous year which resulted in 44,000 severe reactions and even deaths from selected products.

Then in May an update was made to the EPA website followed by a meeting with representatives of some of the major flea product manufacturers, veterinarians, and other officials.

An update on the issue is to be released this October but in the meantime you can check on the EPA flea and tick scrutiny here.

How to Avoid Counterfeit Flea Treatment Products

Counterfeit flea treatment products are suspected to be contributing to the adverse reactions being reported by pet owners after using flea treatment products.

In the first post in this series I listed the most commonly counterfeited products along with their registration numbers.

But the question on most people’s minds is, Just how do you identify a fake flea treatment product?

Foreign sources are the main suppliers of these flea control products that could endanger, or even kill, your pet(s).

Here is a short list of tips to avoid (or identify) counterfeit flea treatment products:

1. Don’t purchase flea products from foreign suppliers.
2. Be suspicious of any flea control products that are missing the inserts with directions for the safe use of the product.
3. Beware of flea treatment products that are not sold in child proof packaging.
4. Check to see that the lot number of the insert and applicator(s) match the lot number on the outside of the package.
5. Make sure all the label information matched the requirements of the EPA.
6. Avoid cheap flea products sold on the Internet.
7. Report any counterfeit products to the right sources.
8. Safely dispose of fake flea treatment products and don’t use them on your pets.

What do counterfeit flea products look like?

Most counterfeit flea products really look similar and the differences are harder to identify. Opening the package is usually a good way to get a look to verify.

Here is a slide show of some of the counterfeit products:

Compare to this slide show of legitimate products:

Those who distribute, import, or sell counterfeit pesticides such as Advantage and Frontline are subject to civil or criminal penalties up to $27,500 per sale, one year imprisonment, or both.

Recommended Resources

Do you have a resource that you would like to share? Please leave a comment and check out this kennel’s blog post and the photos on fake Frontline.

Counterfeit Flea Treatment Dangers

Recently counterfeit flea treatment products have been surfacing with alarming regularity.

People are reporting that certain flea control products are not working–but what is suspected is that they have purchased counterfeit flea products instead of the real thing.

Common complaints about questionable flea medications are:

1) that the product does not work and that the fleas have developed a resistance to the product, and

2) the horrible consequences when some animals experience adverse reactions to the counterfeit products.

Counterfeit flea products do not include the same ingredients as the real ones OR they contain additional ingredients that harm pets.

The EPA recently released a educational handout for retailers to aid in identifying counterfeit flea medication.

It seems that the following registered products tend to be targeted by unscrupulous sellers:

Although the following brand names are EPA registered numbers of legitimate products, many of the counterfeit flea meds use the same names and numbers.

* Frontline Top Spot for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 65331-2)
* Frontline Top Spot for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 65331-3)
* Frontline Plus for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 65331-4)
* Frontline Plus for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 65331-5)

* Advantage 10 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-117)
* Advantage 20 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-119)
* Advantage 55 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-120)
* Advantage 100 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-122)
* Advantage 9 for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 11556-116)
* Advantage 18 for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 11556-118)

It is hard to identify counterfeit flea medication products from the actual EPA registered flea meds because they often look identical.

However, in the next post I’ll get into how to avoid falling for counterfeit flea control products.

Consumer Affairs Investigates Flea Treatment

On August 10, 2009 an extensive series on flea treatment and adverse reactions was posted on ConsumerAffairs.com.

Based on reported incidents involving flea treatment products, ConsumerAffairs.Com contacted three of the leading topical flea and tick product manufacturers to discuss the EPA’s “intensified scrutiny” of these treatments and any complaints they had received from pet owners.

ConsumerAffairs.Com contacted Sergeant’s, Central Life Sciences/Farnam Pet Products (Bio Spot brand), and The Hartz Mountain Corporation.

Hartz was the only company that responded.

Click here to find the ConsumerAffairs.Com and Hartz flea treatment discussion.

Flea Treatments & The EPA

epa spot-on flea controlAfter a May 5th meeting to discuss reported adverse effects on pets associated with flea and tick products, ongoing agency actions related to the reported incidents, and additional information needs, the EPA still has not come forward with any determinations.

It is expected that the EPA will complete its analysis of risk this fall (October) and discuss mitigation measures following that assessment.

Attending the May meeting were representatives from the EPA, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, Health Canada, flea control producers including Summit Vet Pharm, Central Life Sciences, Hartz Mountain Corporation, MGK, TSG, Exponent, Fort Doge Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health, Sergeant’s Pet Care, Merial Limited, AHI, Pillsbury Law, and Intervet.

Additional information will be collected so that data is more accurate and the EPA expects that to be completed this month (July).

To date the actual spot-on flea control incidents triggering this advisory included:

Death 560
Major 610
Minor/Moderate/Unspecified 21,000
Moderate 1,600
Minor 1,500
Unspecified 140

Death 640
Major 740
Minor/Moderate/Unspecified 8,500
Moderate 6,700
Minor 27,000
Unspecified 130

Cats & Spot On Treatments (ASPCA Animal Poison Control)

The ASPCA receives more than 700 calls daily from veterinarians and pet parents, resulting in over 150,000 annual cases involving medications, insecticides, plants and foods. ASPCA epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Slater analyzed data from public calls managed by the ASPCA regarding flea and tick products. The data identified two key findings. When cats were treated inappropriately (not per label directions), they are significantly more likely to experience severe reactions: no illness despite a call to the ASPCA (7%), mild illness (69%), moderate illness (22%), major illness (2%), and death (0.1%). no illness despite a call to the ASPCA (18 percent), mild illness (17 percent), moderate illness (45 percent), major illness (19 percent) and death (2 percent). Read the whole ASPCA release here.

The EPA is supposed to release their findings this month but has not yet made any recall announcements.