01 Adverse Reactions to Spot-on Flea and Tick Products - VeterinaryPartner.com - a VIN company!
Authored by: Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT
Fortunately, treating epidermal paresthesia is fairly simple and entails bathing off the product with a mild dish soap (pet shampoos are too mild to remove all of the product
). For pyrethroid paresthesia, applying vitamin E to the affected skin can provide quick relief— just use scissors to snip open a vitamin E capsule (the kind used as a vitamin supplement) and squeeze the oily contents onto the pet’s skin and rub it in.
A rare but more significant skin reaction (in terms of sensitivity) to spot-on products is contact dermatitis, in which an inflammatory reaction develops in response to the topically applied product. These responses - sometimes referred to as hypersensitivity reactions) - can occur upon the first use of a product, but more commonly occur after several uneventful exposures to the product. The body sets up an inflammatory response to the site of application, and the skin will appear red and irritated. In more severe cases, wheals or blisters may develop and the skin may actually ulcerate. Unlike paresthesia, which tends to occur within 30 minutes of application, oftentimes the onset of contact dermatitis is delayed for several hours, with the full extent of the injury taking 12-24 hours to develop. Depending on the degree of the inflammatory reaction, the level of discomfort can range from mild to quite severe. After bathing off the spot-on product
, pets who develop more than mild redness at the application site should be seen by their veterinarians for further treatment to reduce the inflammation and discomfort.
Although not life threatening, skin reactions can range from mildly annoying to very painful; for this reason, a pet that has had a reaction to a spot-on product should never have the same product applied in the future.
If a spot- on product is still desired for flea and/or tick control, try a product with totally different active ingredients than the one that caused the reaction. Following application, watch the pet carefully and be ready to bathe at the first sign of problems. Unfortunately, there are rare individuals that cannot tolerate any of the topical spot-on products, and other flea control options such as sprays or dips may be needed.