In an investigation of the safety of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for cats and dogs, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is asking for more veterinary oversight of pet pesticide products.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently solicited feedback during a 60-day public comment period to increase the safety of pet pesticide products for fleas and ticks.
Of concern for the AVMA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an existing disconnect between veterinarians and consumers with regard to over-the-counter pet products such as flea and tick control pesticides for cats and dogs.
The organizations said there is a lack of direct professional involvement between veterinarians and pet-owners over pet products, which leads to an increase in adverse incidences involving the use of products such as flea and tick control. Veterinarians should play a more active role in the use of pet spot-on products in order to minimize the likelihood of adverse effects, the AVMA and HSUS said.
The EPA said it advised pet owners to consult veterinarians about protecting their pets from fleas and ticks, but said it lacks the authority to mandate direct veterinary involvement with all pet pesticide products.
The AVMA also requested the EPA use the FDA’s new web portal (MedWatch) for reporting of fatal or adverse events, so that veterinarians can easily report these types of events. While the EPA agrees it would be convenient for veterinarians to report to a single source, current regulations do not allow veterinarians to do so.
"EPA agrees that is would be convenient for veterinarians to report complaints or incidents about FDA-regulated veterinary drugs and EPA-regulated pesticides to a single source," the EPA responded. "However, current EPA regulations only require registrants to submit aggregate summaries of incidents directly to the EPA."
In the feedback process, members of the general public asked the EPA to ban pesticide products that can kill cats. Some ingredients in spot-on products formulated for dogs can harm or even kill felines.
While the EPA said it has no plans to ban dog pesticide products that are toxic to cats, it is working to ensure that product labels clearly address the threat the products pose to cats. Changes to labels will need to include putting either the word "cat" or "dog" in the product name and increasing the size of the word, repeating the word "cat" or "dog" throughout the directions for use and including "cat prohibition icons" on product labels for dog pesticides.
The HSUS and the National Resources Defense Council also suggested the EPA test the entire formulation of pesticide flea and tick control products (including inert ingredients) for toxicity, and requested that every ingredient be clearly disclosed on the label.
The EPA disagreed, responding that there is not enough evidence to warrant testing every inactive ingredient in registered flea and tick products.
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