Safe flea control, cont.

30 09 2008

Below the body copy is a list with a few more links on (un)safe flea control, some of which I accessed previously, others, only tonight. Good info.

To repeat, AVOID organophosphates such as tetrachlorvinphos, as well as those chems I listed in the previous post. It seems as if many sites agree that the chemicals in many of the monthly topical or oral treatments are pretty safe, and the IGRs are very safe. A number of the sites listed above and yesterday offer comparisons of the various treatments, so make sure to consider what would work best for your animal. As mentioned, I went with Advantage (combined with Zodiac Spot-On) because it seemed the best bet for my old cats, but some might prefer to deliver the medicine by pill, or simply prefer Frontline or Bio-Spot.

Oh, and I neglected to mention the product with the tetrachlorvinphos: It was a Hartz spray (I don’t remember exactly which one, because I returned it to MegaPetStore.) Bad Hartz! Very bad Hartz!

Anyway, the combo of imidacloprid to kill the adult fleas and methoprene to zap the eggs seems to be the ticket: cats are still flea-free, and while their necks were greasy for a few days, that seems to be dissipating. I do notice a slight odor on Skinny Cat; she doesn’t reek, but if her neck nears my nose, I smell a distinct, slightly piney-mothball aroma.

Not that I’m complaining—anything is better than bugs. We’ll all just have to put up with greasy necks and that aroma for the neck few months. Totally worth it.

One caution, however, about the spray (containing a 0.5% concentration of permethrin, along with a low dose of methoprene): I may have to discontinue use of this, or find something else. Although I wore gloves while spraying the shit out of everything, waited for everything to dry, and covered the chairs & mattress with laundered seat covers and sheets, I think some of got into my skin: My hands are tingly with a slight burning sensation. Nothing awful, but it is enough to be noticeable.

Then again, it could also be the methoprene—which could mean I was exposed through the topical treatment. That would suck, since the methoprene is key to killing the next generation(s) of fleas. If I desist from spraying next month, but use the topical Zodiac along with the Advantage, I can at least figure out if the permethrin is the problem. If not, well, I wasn’t planning to use the Zodiac Spot-On beyond next month (tho’ I’ll be continuing with the Advantage at least through 3 months, and perhaps 6). So. I’ll see.

I have to say, regardless, I hope never to have to think about this again.

Anyhoo, here are a few more flea & flea-i-cide related links, mainly concerning the risks of various pesticides (and hey, go university extension services!):

UC-Davis, Flea Management guidelines:

Texas Agricultural Extension, Controlling Fleas (gives info on various pesticides, but doesn’t state that some are toxic to cats & dogs):

University of Nebraska Lincoln/UNL Extension, Integrated Flea Control:

Flea Away, brief on flea pesticides:

Fleas and Ticks (I think this is where I got the list, posted yesterday, of bad chemicals; scroll down or link to ‘Toxicities’):

Humane Society of the US, What you should know about flea and tick products:

Here’s a chart I just found tonight, put out by Greenpaws (in pdf):

Natural Resources Defense Council (link in previous post):

Ohio State Extension fact sheet on fleas (good comparisons of treatments, what is the active ingredient, how applied, how long lasts, etc):

EPA info on flea pesticides: