I had an awful experience this morning which I would like to share with everyone. It regards a most common product known to many of us who are pet owners; Flea and Tick Killer.
I am highly educated in chemical, biological, nuclear toxins, hold a pesticide applicator license and regularly work with chemicals. I am familiar with the benefits and downfalls of them all and am always cautious but open minded to the research conducted on these (chemical) products.
That said, I have used these products from various manufacturers over the course of many years and have had no ill affect until today. Most flea and tick products contain a combination of Pyrethroids and growth regulators. Others vary in their composition and all of them should be studied by us pet owners prior to application. Growth regulators are often labeled non toxic and “harmless to human or animal health.” Pyrethroids are often the organic gardeners’ choice product since it is a naturally occurring product derived from chrysanthemums. It can be manufactured synthetically as well.
However, it is still a substance used to kill other organisms. It is a neurotoxin. Though there is no guarantee that you or your pet won’t react negatively as mine (and myself) did this morning. The product that I used was Sentry Pro XFT, a regular, over the counter flea and tick medicine.
The primary ingredient to Sentry Pro XFT is Cyphenothrin. The following definition was extracted from: www.pesticideinfo.org
Cyphenothrin is a Pyrethroid compound.
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Symptoms of Poisoning with Pyrethroid Compounds
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- Irritation of skin and eyes.
- Irritability to sound or touch, abnormal facial sensation, sensation of prickling, tingling or creeping on skin, numbness.
- Headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, fatigue.
- In severe cases: fluid in the lungs and muscle twitching may develop. Seizures may occur and are more common with more toxic cyano-pyrethroids.
These are the signs and symptoms that my Labrador Maizey experienced at 0300hrs this morning after an application (last night) of Sentry Pro XFT flea control meds. We rushed her to the vet at 0530hrs, she could barely walk straight and I thought she was dying. One of the worst mornings that I have had in a while (I hope Valentine’s Day improves).
As a former chemical officer I ought to know not to apply nerve agents to things that I love because they are meant to kill other creatures. Just because the FDA has approved it and the gov’t allows it for sale, doesn't mean its “safe.” Oh by the way my nose is numb- I was affected by it as well probably while washing it off of my cat and dog in a frantic hurry not to let them die or stroke out. Maizey exhibited signs of stroke and I am hoping it was just extreme dizziness.
I will not be applying any further pesticides to my animals ever again. It's not right to put an animal and my family through something like this. I'll just have to keep Maizey a little cleaner and wash the fleas away. I hope you all pay attention to what you're applying to your animals, your yards and your selves. Don't think that if the vet or the Big Box Store sells it to you that it's any safer. A nerve agent is a nerve agent no matter how you package it. Some of our greatest personal dangers come from over the counter products.
The bottom line is, if you don’t have to use it then don’t. Don’t use anything just because the vet tells you to or everyone you know does it. Use it out of sincere necessity. Please, if you do use any of these products, look up the signs, symptoms and possible remedies of poisoning prior to application. I was surprised to know that there is no antidote for this kind of poisoning in the animal medical world. Whereas military service members are issued Atropine injectors for nerve agent poisoning. While we wait for an antidote, the next best thing is Dawn (heavy degreasing) dishwashing detergent. Flea and tick meds are oil based and difficult to remove once applied to the skin.
Take care and I wish you and your pet a long and healthy life.