The Animal Doctor

DEAR DR. FOX: I recently received information about the harmful effects of Simparica oral tick and flea medication.

Hopefully you can share some evidence-based information as to its safety. -- W.F., West Palm Beach, Florida

DEAR W.F.: I have done an extensive, documented review on these various oral and topical anti-tick and flea medications, which most veterinarians are continuing to sell to their clients, along with pet food suppliers and large grocery and drug stores.

For details, visit my website (drfoxonehealth.com) and pull up “Companion Animal Risks of Flea and Tick Insecticides.”

I find this whole issue a reflection of a brainwashed society that has come to accept the risks of pesticides because of the well-advertised self-proclaimed benefits by the manufacturers. This brainwashing has been so successful that most farmers believe they cannot farm without pesticides. The net result is insect pesticide resistance and the need for more and stronger insecticides, while beneficial insects and species that help control crop pests are killed, and our food and water are contaminated by such chemicals.

Insanity, indeed. Organic farmers are helping recover agriculture and sanity. So are holistic veterinarians who offer alternatives to control fleas and ticks for clients who want to make the effort and not adopt the easy way out by giving their animals these chemicals on a regular basis. For my holistic, integrative approach, see “Preventing Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes” posted on my website.

Products like Simparica and Bravecto are widely advertised in veterinary journals, giving the impression that they are safe for companion animals. But go online and you will find many contrary reports and opinions, such as the following:

FOUR FLEA, TICK PRODUCTS LINKED TO SEIZURES, ATAXIA

Details: avma.org/news/javmanews/pages/181115h.aspx

NEW YORK STATE BANS DECLAWING CATS

“About bloody time,” as we say in my country of origin, where no British veterinarian would consider declawing cats as a routine service for their clients. For details about the harmful consequences of this radical surgical mutilation, visit my website, drfoxonehealth.com.

The New York bill outlaws a variety of declawing surgeries unless medically necessary for the cat, and imposes a fine of up to $1,000 on veterinarians who perform them, the New York Times reported.

Cat declawing involves severing through tendons and nerves and removal of part of the toe/finger bone. The practice is banned in many European countries and Canadian provinces, as well as the U.S. cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver. However, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society opposed the bill, arguing in a statement that there were circumstances in which declawing would be best for the well-being of cats and owners, and that the ultimate decision should be left up to veterinarians in consultation with their clients.

Other vets supported the bill. Rochester, New York-based veterinarian Michelle Brownstein said she stopped offering the procedure 15 years ago when she became convinced it caused cats to develop chronic pain or long-term behavioral problems.

“The end result is a barbaric procedure that results in the mutilation of the animal,” she told the Associated Press. “Frankly, if you’re worried about your furniture, then you shouldn’t be getting a cat.”

TOXIC ALGAE THREATENS DOGS IN AFFECTED WATERWAYS

A dog died after playing in the St. John River in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where toxic blue-green algae blooms are frequent. Veterinarian Colleen Bray says the dog’s symptoms are consistent with blue-green algae exposure, and dog owners are urged to avoid the area. (CTV, Canada, 7/14)

In most regions of North America currently experiencing climate change-related increases in heat and precipitation, ideal conditions are being created for the proliferation of toxic algae in fresh-water lakes and streams. This puts dogs who drink contaminated water at risk.

Dog owners and walkers, beware! Also, remember that hot pavement can blister dogs’ feet, and in hot and humid weather, they need extra water to stay cool and to avoid heat stroke.

(Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)

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