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Veterinary Forum May 2009 (Vol 26, No 5)

CAPC addresses EPA investigation

by Marianne Tear

    BEL AIR, Md. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would review reports of an increase in adverse events associated with the use of certain groups of topical flea control products, commonly known as "spot-on" formulations, which are approved for use on dogs and cats.

    According to Mike Paul, DVM, executive director of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), approximately 40,000 adverse events were reported.

    "While these figures are concerning, they must be interpreted in light of information that is absent from the report," Paul explained. "An adverse event that is reported may be anything from disappointing results, unacceptable odors or temporary changes to the hair coat, to more significant events, such as gastrointestinal upsets, coughing, sneezing or skin irritation at the point of application. On rare occasions, serious and life-threatening signs and even death may occur."

    "The range of products is amazingly broad," Paul added. "These products are specifically labeled for indication by species and clearly labeled for frequency of application and dosage. There is no reference in the EPA report addressing adherence to the labeled restrictions."

    In addition, the CAPC noted that many products are available over-the-counter and are sold without directions, restrictions or specific indications other than on the package label. Other products are available from Internet sources with no assurance of purity, safety or efficacy. Some of the products are illegally imported or not manufactured appropriately.

    "While 40,000 adverse events is concerning, it is important to consider this number in light of the total doses administered from veterinary sources, Internet sources and retail sources, a figure that is not available," Paul explained. "We do have information on veterinary-dispensed products and even in light of that number, the percentage of adverse events is extremely low and the percentage of major adverse events is miniscule. The incidence of adverse events should always be of concern but must be interpreted in light of reality."

    NEXT: Case Report — Disseminated Aspergillosis Presenting as a Spinal Cord Lesion

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