Treatment Worse Than the Disease? Tick Drops

I would love to be thinking about a hundred other things this morning that blood-sucking, disease-spreading arthropods. But we keep pulling tiny grazers off our own hides, and extracting deeply-embedded ticks off the dog. And it promises to be a bad tick season due to the early warming.

The issue for the dog is my reluctance to risk some of the adverse effects that pyrethrin-related and neurotoxins like imidacloprid have produced. Granted, it’s often apparently when giving dog meds to cats, or large dog tick drops used on small dogs. But the potential ill effects are all over the map: hair loss, itching, vomiting, dazed behavior and seizures.

On the other hand, the risk of tick-borne diseases is a known factor. I know a half dozen folks in Floyd County who have had tick-carried illness, and this is a serious threat.

Does anyone know of any effective tick treatments as alternatives to the spot-on varieties that contain Imidacloprid (for fleas) and Permethrin  (for ticks)?

I have developed a powerful mistrust of Bayer and their ilk, since they “proved” their neonicotinoid insecticides weren’t harming honeybees by way of a misleading piece of research. This is the same toxin that’s found in Advantix. Tick meds represent a one billion dollar a year business. The truth is for sale, after all.

Unless I can find an alternative very soon, I’ll not have any choice but to pick up the oily drops today at the vet, spread them down Gandy’s back, and hope she is not one of an unknown number of pets who are poisoned by the medications that we trust to keep them healthy.

See these links:

EPA Cautions Pet Owners Using Spot-on Flea and Tick Treatments for Pets | PRLog

NRDC: Poisons on Pets

Danger of Chemical Pest Control Products – Safe Alternatives (Selling stuff on this site, so caveat your emptors here.)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I am totally in agreement as to the odiousness of these medications. Having said that, I’ve tried lots of stuff and sooner or later come back to the drugs. I have used Cedarcide and it does work in that it kills the fleas and ticks that it touches. However, you kill 100 and 1000 come to the funeral. It’s an almost daily chore to douse the dog with the Cedarcide and the Cedarcide makes everything smell like cedar and it makes surfaces slippery. I’ve also used food grade diatenaceous earth on bedding and that helps too though it’s messy. I know some kennel owners that swear by diatenaceous earth but then the dogs are in kennels, not the house. If you find a good solution, please let us know.

  2. I remember reading that permethrin is highly toxic to cats, fish and other aquatic life. It is also not absorbed into the skin very well. Therefore I am careful with my dogs getting in the pond or river within a week of application.
    The real source of the problem is the rodent vectors. Here is an interesting alternative I came across:
    A method of reducing deer tick populations by treating rodent vectors involves stuffing biodegradable cardboard tubes with permethrin-treated cotton. Mice collect the cotton for lining their nests. Permethrin on the cotton instantly kills any immature ticks that are feeding on the mice. It is important to put the tubes where mice will find them, such as in dense, dark brush, or at the base of a log; mice are unlikely to gather cotton from an open lawn.