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Where do you go for petcare advice

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Ebay flea medication ad

With so many flea and tick products available it can be overwhelming deciding what is right for your pet.  More and more products are available and are no longer sold through vet hospitals only - often they are found on the shelves of retail stores and online pharmacies.  While this offers pet owners options, frequently it does not provide the necessary education in deciding what is right or even safe for their pet. 

There was a time, not that long ago, when flea and tick products were sold exclusively through veterinary hospitals.  In fact, veterinarians have battled for years to prevent the sale of these products through mass retail stores or online discount pharmacies.  Owners can now obtain these products, some with significant potential for harm, with little to no guidance on which product is appropriate and how to correctly use the medications.  While this may appear to benefit the consumer from a cost standpoint, it has also led to a significant increase in adverse events.  The growing safety concerns drew the attention of regulatory agencies groups, who are now taking an interest in these particular products.   An Environmental Protection Agency study determined that "changes need to be made in how we regulate the spot-on products, how companies report data on pet incidents, and how packages are labeled for cats, dogs, and size of animals to prevent unreasonable adverse effects and ensure the safety of these products."  It seems that they are beginning to recognize what veterinary professionals have been concerned about all along - the risk of a pet owners selecting and administering medications without proper direction.

Unfortunately the time to address this particular issue may have come and gone.  The control of these products has gone from veterinarians to the retail market and now appears to be headed the way of many other items in the arena of health care - government regulation.  This well meaning effort will not only ultimately cost consumers money, but it falls short of the mark by failing to return your  family veterinarian, the one who lives in your community and cares about you and your pet, to the position of expert when it comes to what is best for their patients.

 

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Dr. Potter is the medical director of Allied Veterinary Emergency Hospital and is the only board certified emergency veterinarian in Tallahassee.

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Guest Sunday, 23 April 2017