Treating our pets for fleas and ticks is common practice; it’s done so for their protection. But what happens if the meds themselves do more harm than good? A new alert, issued by the FDA, says that flea and tick protection pills or chews can cause neurological complications such as falling and uncontrolled stumbling as well as seizures.

The FDA is now requiring clearer labels on flea and tick medications that contain a pesticide called isoxazoline. Isoxazoline can be found in popular flea and tick meds such as Bravecto, Nexgard, and Simparica– and another product called Credelio, which just received FDA approval.

All of these medications contain the dangerous pesticide and should be taken with this warning in mind.



The FDA warns:

“Isoxazoline products have been associated with neurologic adverse reactions, including muscle tremors, ataxia and seizures in some dogs and cats.”

Ataxia is the loss of controlled muscle movements. This can cause animals to stumble, appear clumsy, and/or twitch.

Tick pictured, courtesy of Flickr

The FDA adds:

“Although most dogs and cats haven’t had neurologic adverse reactions, seizures may occur in animals without a prior history.”

The products are mostly labeled with this warning. However, the warnings and risks are not clear to pet owners. The FDA wants owners to be more informed before choosing these medications to give to their pets.

“The FDA carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard, and Simparica prior to approval, and these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals,” the agency reports.

The FDA and veterinarians are concerned with the lack of information. A blanket warning that can be downplayed by pet owners as a routine caution may not be enough.

Nearly every medication we take ourselves and give to our pets, comes with a warning or two– but we are so used to seeing them, and hearing about them (gotta love those commercials with a 5-minute list of potential side effects), that we are pretty much desensitized.

The goal here is to make sure pet owners are fully aware of the risks and know they have other options such as topical flea and tick medication and collars.

The FDA says: “The agency is asking the manufacturers to make the changes to the product labeling in order to provide veterinarians and pet owners with the information they need to make treatment decisions for each pet on an individual basis.”


What can you do?

Do your research! If your pet has had an adverse reaction to topical flea and tick medication and oral meds are the only way to go, talk to your veterinarian about the potential risks. There may be other options.

Please share this important message to warn others about the potential dangers they may know nothing about!