DEAR DR. FOX: I am reaching out to you in regards to purchasing a natural flea/tick collar for my 1-year-old Shih Tzu. We were using the Seresto brand until I saw the news about the number of deaths associated with the collars.
I went to your site and read about various cases; however, I did not see any recommendations. Please let me know what you would recommend we use. -- R.N., Atlanta, California
DEAR R.N.: I have added this statement to my website post "Preventing Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes": Visit earthanimal.com to find various botanical products that help prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitoes from infesting and possibly infecting dogs and cats with insect-borne diseases. With climate change and the documented harms of using insecticides on companion animals and risk to humans, especially children, in the home, these safe and effective alternatives are a wise choice.
DEAR DR. FOX: I discovered you from my research on how to help my Australian shepherd detox from Nexgard. He started taking Nexgard at the recommendation of his vet since we got him when he was 3 months old, and we just took him off of it at 13 months old. The first seizure we are aware of occurred when he was about 6 months old, but he sleeps separately from us because he's so noisy at night, so it's very possible that he'd had previous ones. We have witnessed four seizures in the last five weeks. Our vet never once brought up Nexgard as a possible factor! We did intensive blood and urine labs, and he is otherwise healthy.
I spoke with the breeder, and she confirmed that both lines of his pedigree are clean and healthy. It was the breeder, not the vet, who asked about vaccinations and medications; that's when we looked at the box of Nexgard and saw the information about seizures, plain as day. We obviously stopped using it immediately.
I looked it up online and was horrified by stories I read of this "medication's" side effects! I am in disbelief that it never occurred to the vet that Nexgard could be implicated in his seizure situation. This drug needs to be taken off the market!
In any case, do you recommend the coconut oil, milk thistle, melatonin regimen to all dogs detoxing from Nexgard? Does size matter? Our Remy is about 50 pounds. -- M.C., Tulsa, Oklahoma
DEAR M.C.: For a 50-pound dog to "detox," I recommend 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, twice daily in his food. Also give him a daily supplement of milk thistle (250 to 350 milligrams) and melatonin (6 milligrams) at night for three to four weeks. The coconut oil may lead to loose stools, but that is a nonissue compared to the neurological dangers of the medication.
DOG SUMMER 'HOT SPOTS'
In the summer, many dogs develop "hot spots" -- weeping, red sores. Dogs often scratch and lick these sores, as well, worsening them. The most likely cause is insect-bite allergy, especially to flea bites. One flea on a sensitized dog can cause extensive allergic dermatitis, which should always be checked for when a "hot spot" is found on a dog. A flea comb can catch flea poop (digested dog's blood) in the fur that looks like flecks of coal and turn brown-red when put on a piece of wet white paper.
(Send all mail to email@example.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.)