Translating FDA Alert Regarding Chewable Flea and Tick Products

Dr. Todd McCracken and Steve Dale explain FDA alert on flea and tick products


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting pet owners and veterinarians to be aware of the potential for neurologic adverse events in dogs and cats when treated with drugs that are in the isoxazoline class of flea and tick products. What the heck does that mean? I spoke with Dr. Todd McCracken, veterinary services manager and Fear Free certified veterinarian at CEVA Animal Health on my Steve Dale’s Pet World WGN Radio show to clarify in English what the FDA alert is all about.

McCracken and I talk about how the flea and tick products affected – Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica. – are ALL chewables which work to kill fleas/ticks from inside the pet.

Spot on products work from outside the animal, and Vectra 3D, in particular, even repels mosquitoes, as well as fleas and ticks. That is important (and a good monetary value) because in conjunction with a traditional heartworm preventative provides a double defense against mosquito transmitted heartworm disease, which experts increasingly agree is a good idea. At simultaneously kills fleas and ticks.

It’s important to note that the FDA agrees the products listed in their alert do what they are supposed to do, effectively killing fleas and ticks. Only a very small percent of animals who are treated are ever going to suffer any adverse affects.

However, many consumers are obviously concerned, as the FDA doesn’t release alerts every day. If you do have questions/concerns, contact your veterinarian for clarification.

One solution is to assume that the tick season is over and to use nothing until March or April. Only one problem with that theory – it’s untrue. Fact is fall is when Lyme disease is most often transmitted to dogs. And tick disease is year-round, of course, especially in warmer parts of the country. Dog owners may be surprised to learn that even in Minnesota and Michigan, ticks will “wake” up on warmer January days and potentially bite on whoever they can. When ticks bite the potential for disease transmission is real.

Of course, if you live in Florida, the Carolina’s, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas or anywhere in the south you are well aware that fleas, ticks and mosquitoes and the diseases they carry are a year-round issue. Doing nothing puts your pet and your household imperil. Guessing about products to purchase at a big box store or online can be a waste of money. McCracken reiterates  that if you have questions about the FDA alert, speak with your veterinarian.