There are so many flea and tick remedies on the market today that it’s tough to know which one is right for you. In the coming weeks we will post on some of the most popular methods of prevention and the pro’s and con’s of each. First up, FRONTLINE PLUS:
Probably the most popular flea and tick prevention, and the one most recommended by Vets, is FRONTLINE Plus, which is applied topically. The active ingredients in this product are fipronil and (S)-methoprene, both of which are highly toxic to fleas and ticks. Once applied, this chemical combination stores itself in the oil glands of your pet’s skin and self-distributes continuously for up to one month throughout your pet’s hair and skin by way of hair follicles. Fleas or ticks that then come in contact with your pet are killed on contact (www.frontline.com/Pages/About.aspx).
Unfortunately, fipronil, one of the active ingredients in Frontline plus can also be toxic to humans and animals. Toxicity on humans has been tested in few studies, more commonly involving human cells which were used in carcinogenicity studies, but with no adverse effects. Yet, fipronil has been classified by the EPA as a Group C (possible human) carcinogen based on an increase in thyroid follicular cell tumors in both sexes of the rat. Furthermore, fipronil is considered slightly irritating to the skin, while moderately irritating to the eyes in both humans and animals.
Two Frontline TopSpot products were determined by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to pose no significant exposure risks to workers applying the product. However, concerns were raised about human exposure to Frontline spray treatment in 1996, leading to a denial of registration for the spray product. Commercial pet groomers and veterinarians were considered to be at risk from chronic exposure via inhalation and dermal absorption during the application of the spray, assuming they may have to treat up to 20 large dogs per day. Fipronil is not volatile, so there is little likelihood of humans being exposed to this compound in the air.
If injested (and this would most likely be inadvertently) Fipronil can be poisonous. Fipronil poisioning is characterized by vomiting, agitation, and seizures, but can usually be managed through supportive care and early treatment generally with benzodiazepine use (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fipronil).
Given the adverse side-effects of fipronil, use it is recommended that you use FRONTLINE only as directed and wash your hands after use and/or touching the treated area of your pet.