DEAR DR. FOX: Our 8-month-old, 50-pound springer spaniel pup had severe reactions to both Frontline Plus and Frontline Gold (for puppies). He got diarrhea and looked like he was nearing a seizure, with a quivering jaw, all within 24 hours of application. I even gave him a low dose -- one for dogs weighing 25 to 44 pounds.
What do you recommend? Ticks are fierce here, and we walk every day. I have Cedar Spray from Dogs Natually, but I think I will need a variety of products for full coverage.
Our older springer rescue doesn't seem to suffer adverse effects from Fipronil. -- S.B., Branson, Missouri
DEAR S.B.: I am so sorry to hear about the adverse reaction of your young dog to the Frontline products. These, along with other similar products, are widely advertised this time of year, and I receive many reports of dogs becoming suddenly ill -- and in some instances dying -- after application. Year after year I advise against the use of most of these products except as a last resort.
But that is how the manufacturers and suppliers make their money; they essentially either deny receiving adverse reaction reports, or claim they are rare and that the benefits outweigh the risks of an occasional dog or cat getting ill and possibly being killed. Your veterinarian should report this adverse reaction to the manufacturers and to the government regulators.
Visit my website, DrFoxVet.net, for my flea and tick prevention and treatment advice, under the title "Preventing Fleas." Also visit petzlife.com to learn about herbal products that have proven safe and effective in dealing with these noxious ectoparasites.
But as I emphasize in my review article, no single product can give 100 percent protection without the animal also having good nutrition and daily monitoring of body surfaces to check for fleas and ticks -- especially after a run with the dog in the woods. And of course all cats should be indoor cats, otherwise they could infest the home with fleas and ticks and even infect family members with the plague and other flea- and tick-borne diseases if they are allowed to come and go as they please.
DEAR DR. FOX: After having my old dog Sam euthanized in our home, I wonder why authorities are using some weird drug combinations to kill death-row convicts instead of what my vet used: Acepromazine sedative and then pentobarbital into a vein.
Sam passed away in my arms with no fear -- his eyes told me. He gave a big sigh, and he was gone. It was so humane; death with dignity. -- M.S., Washington, D.C.
DEAR M.S.: Our justice system has yet to learn and practice compassion and mercy, and the legal system and government to embrace science-based reason and bioethics. The recovery of our humanity from the insanity of our inhumanity is a societal and evolutionary challenge. Veterinarians are at the forefront of this evolution; our relationships with and treatment of animals telling us much about our states of mind and the realities we create therewith.
EUTHANASIA DRUG IN DOG FOOD: ANOTHER PET FOOD RECALL
Party Animal, Inc. of West Hollywood, California, has announced that it is voluntarily recalling specific lots of its canned dog foods because they tested positive for the euthanasia drug pentobarbital. To learn which products are affected, visit dogfoodadvisor.com.
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating this issue, and in my opinion it may be because the meat processors and suppliers have been lax in insuring that euthanized cats and dogs, as well as horses, ponies, pot-bellied pigs and other companion animals who have been humanely euthanized with pentobarbital, are separated from processing into meat meal and other ingredients that end up in pet food.
Concentrations of this euthanasia drug have been so high in some dog foods that dogs have developed acute neurological problems, including seizures and death.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 DrFoxVet.net.)