We shouldn’t have to know what drugs have been recalled or what the side effects of meds are; but we do. We shouldn’t have to listen with caution to our vets about particular treatment options; but we do. The following is one pet owners hard learned experience about how quickly things can go wrong even at the vet.
Amanda B. took her dog Pepper for a ‘well pet’ visit at her local veterinarian; Pepper as well was fighting a hot spot. The veterinarian examined Pepper (besides the hot spot all was well) and then the conversation went to discussing Spot On Flea treatments. This particular clinic was pushing a new brand of Spot On flea treatment, First Shield; Amanda was told they were “better than Frontline or Advantix” (flea treatments which just happen to have become available over the counter instead of veterinarian sold only). Having previously done research on flea treatments, Amanda was adamant about asking for a safe treatment. “I expressed to the vet and the vet assistant that I do not use chemicals on my dog, want a safer alternative, feed her an all natural no preservative diet.”
Pepper was recently adopted and is a bit overweight. In the month that Amanda has opened her heart and home to Pepper, she has already lost a few pounds. Her weight at the time of this visit to the vet was 22 pounds.
The trouble began when Amanda told the vet she did not want the flea treatment for the 22 to 55 lb. category. Pepper had already lost a few pounds and Amanda was actively helping Pepper to lose more. Pepper’s goal weight was well below the medium size dog Spot On flea treatment (the 22 lb to 55 lb size category). Amanda specifically told the vet I want the small dog dosage.
But that’s not what happened.
Pepper became lethargic almost immediately. Over the next two days lethargic turned into “could not walk” and “acting as if she was drunk” and a 104 degree temperature. Pepper ended up in the emergency room late on day 2 after the flea treatment. In the rush and panic, it was noticed that the additional packets of flea treatment (of course they were on sale – buy three get one free) the weight size was wrong. The veterinarian, despite Amanda specifically telling her vet she did not want the medium size Spot On Flea treatment put on Pepper – she wanted the small dog size – the vet used and sold Amanda the flea treatment for a 22 lb to 55 lb dog.
Long story short, Pepper is doing much better now. Amanda on the other hand is not. As you can imagine, she’s angry. She can’t understand why a veterinarian would use the stronger flea treatment product when she specifically asked for the small dog size. She can’t understand why these types of products are pushed by veterinarians when they can quickly sicken or kill a pet.
I don’t understand either.
The EPA investigated Spot On flea and tick treatments earlier this year. The leading cause of adverse events in dog and cats was using the wrong dosage; didn’t this veterinarian even read the EPA report? http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/petproductseval.html
We have no options but to closely watch everything that comes in contact with our pets. Whether it is veterinarian recommended or not, learn about the products used in (food, treats, drugs, microchips) and on (flea treatments) your pet.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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