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OTC Flea Topical Treatments...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I remember reading on here that OTC flea meds, just like OTC wormers were bad news. That said, with the way the economy is going I've started looking for ways to cut back on my expenses and using OTC flea topicals would be an "easy fix" for me.

That said, I'd like to know if any of you personally have had positive or negative reactions to the OTC topicals and what specific brand you have used.

My family has been using Hartz OTC flea topical on our ~100lb dog for the last 10 years and we've never had any negative reactions with him.

I realize that the cat meds are most certainly different than the dogs, but surely if the cat products were so dangerous, they wouldn't produce them...

So, any feedback, positive or negative on the OTC flea medications?

post #2 of 12
I've seen Hartz kill a cat, as well as half a dozen others. People will treat a stray cat for fleas/ticks & when it get terribly ill, bring it to the shelter. By then, it's too late.

IMO - it would be much safer to look into food/human (can't remember which they call it) grade Diatomaceous (sp?) earth.
post #3 of 12
Please do NOT use any Hartz flea meds on your cat. Any OTC flea remedies are not a good idea. They are either dangerous or ineffective at best. I'm sure there are other areas to cut back on costs. OTC flea meds is not the best place to cut back.
post #4 of 12
I agree with the others.

If you're looking to save money, please DO NOT do it with respect to flea meds. This stuff isn't harmless........it's very potent, basically an insecticide. If you use cheap and scary ones like Hartz, or OTC, you are asking for trouble. It's great that your dog has never had problems with the Hartz stuff....but please, reconsider...and don't use this for any cat. There are class action lawsuits against Hartz -- due to the exorbitant numbers of cats and dogs who have suffered horrible reactions and death due to this crap. I cringe when I walk down the pet food aisle at the grocery store and see Hartz products. How they've stayed in business i have no idea.

If you want to save money, maybe consider buying proper Vet quality stuff through places like 1-800 Pet Meds. http://www.1800petmeds.com/

Talk to your Vet and see if he'll be willing to cooperate. How it works is, you go to the site above, place your order..........they won't complete your order until they receive a faxed prescription from your Vet.

Go and talk to your Vet, find out what type he feels would be best for your dog and cats.......tell him you'd like to use 1-800 Pet Meds because you need to save some money............he should work with you.
post #5 of 12
Like the other members, I definately wouldn't agree with buying over the counter flea meds.

Could the vet offer you a special rate if you discuss the situation? Perhaps contact a shelter/sanctuary in your area and see if they could possibly sell the topical to you at cost?
post #6 of 12
Take a look at the ingredients listed in the OTC flea products. Some can and do cause problems more so in cats.

This is copied from the Merck Veterinary Manual. Ask your vet before using any chemical on your pet. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp

"Synthetic pyrethroids are pyrethrum-like compounds that generally have greater potency and residual effects but are less well tolerated in cats. Some pyrethroids, such as permethrin, can be highly toxic to cats."
post #7 of 12
I had a friend who over the summer thought it would be cheaper to just buy the OTC stuff and I told her I didn't think it was the best idea or worth the money in the long run--I normally respect her pretty much in the cat world/knowledge dept.

I get a frantic call the next day--"there is cat puke all over the house, they are puking everywhere" She ended up at the vet with 3 sick cats from "cheap" flea meds. And didn't kill any fleas!

post #8 of 12
One year I bought the OTC Hartz Flea stuff, and I have to admit I was lucky because it didn't kill any of them, but my Elderly cat, had a very bad reaction, he ended up with a bald strip and sores down his back where I applied it. His fur grew back and the sores went away after a few months, but I was just horrified. It was after that, that I heard that the Hartz products had killed several cats. I vowed never to use it again. I have a neighbor who uses it all the time on her dogs, and I beg her not to, but she won't listen to me. I hope nothing happens to her dogs, because one of her dogs is a senior with health problems.
post #9 of 12
1800 pet meds didn't require a vet's prescription when I ordered Advantage over the summer.

post #10 of 12
The only OTC I will use is Frontline (from Drs Foster & Smith if not from the vet). I usually order in the spring when they have their big Flea & Tick sale with low shipping.
post #11 of 12
I actually use the large dog Frontline on my cats, and have never had an issue. What you do is pour the contents of the vial into a glass vial, and use a syringe to get out .5ml, and put it on the cats that way. The ingredients are virtually the same in .5ml of the dog dose vs. the cat dose.
I learned this from a couple animal shelters that do it this way, since it's cheaper (2 large dog doses = 16 doses for a cat). There's a few companies on Ebay that sell the vials and stuff.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your feedback,

Your answers gave me exactly what I was looking for... personal experience. I realize that we've been lucky with how our dog has reacted to the OTC stuff...and I've never seen a flea on him (the ocassional tick, but no fleas) so it must work for him. I have never used it with my cats, as I had read that it was not good for them. I was just wondering if there was anyone who had had success with using it on a cat. Now that you guys have been good enough to post examples of how the OTC meds have caused some severe reactions, I'll just stick with advantage... If it is possible that it would cause an extreme reaction of any kind, that is too much of a risk for me to take.

I"ll just have to bide my time until I can get a good deal on more advantage. I have been buying it off of amazon.com for about a year now and have even found it as cheap as $7.10 a dose, but it seems that the prices have gone up recently. It wasn't that expensive when I just had one cat...but now with three, the costs really add up quickly.

Thanks again for your help,
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