Every time I give my dog a regular flea medicine she has a few seizures. What other options do I have?
Depending on what flea medicine you used, some are more likely to cause seizures than others. Certainly the over the counter spot on products that are based on pyrethrins are known to cause seizures in sensitive dogs. In fact, I have seen small dogs and cats have fatal seizures from some of these over the counter products.
But, even the regulated, prescription flea medications can cause seizures in some hypersensitive dogs. I have met the occasional patient who simply cannot tolerate any kind of chemicals; the chemicals can lead to seizures or other reactions in these supersensitive patients. (Alternatively, I have some patients who cannot tolerate herbal medications as well.) Because no one wants fleas in their house you have to look at your little one’s exposure. If this is your only dog, you have no cats, no wildlife, no neighbors, or if you have any of these and they all are somehow protected from fleas, then your dog should be fine without any kind of flea treatment. If you live somewhere in between, then it might be worth considering your options.
There are some natural products at work pretty well. You can dust your dog with diatomaceous earth. You can also use diatomaceous earth on your yard, reapply after each rain. There are some newer monthly spot on products that are based on essential oils. These are becoming more effective as flea repellents. Used to be they would only work for a few days. There are some essential oils sprays too. Do be careful because your seizure dog may be sensitive to the essential oil products as well. Some of my holistic colleagues are creating some new, promising, natural alternative flea medications – don’t miss their announcements this summer.
If you live in the country, you can keep chickens and guinea hens – they do a great job of eating all insects out of the yard. There are those who say that if your dog has a strong immune system he or she will not get fleas. In this case, YOUR dog has seizures and is sensitive to medication. There’s a good possibility your dog’s immune system is not operating at 100%, you might need to have these considerations about fleas. If you have any doubt, ask your holistic or integrative veterinarian for the best options for your dog.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM
As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door — not with expensive prescriptions — but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, her commitment to pets hasn’t waned and she looks forward to impacting many more pet parents through her books, research, speaking and consulting work. Learn more at drcathyvet.com