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Neurological Symptoms after Frontline Flea Treatment

Updated on October 10, 2018
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Rose Mary is an Air Force veteran and an Occupational Therapist. She has been a life-long dog parent.

We no longer use flea control products like Frontline on our pets. In 2013, when our spaniel Hope was about 13 years old, she was getting fleas despite treatment with Frontline. Her veterinarian recommended the newest upgrade, Frontline Tritak. Tritak had three primary ingredients. I looked up the ingredients and found that all three were insecticides! I’m guessing that this is common for all iterations of all flea control products.

Our Beautiful Boykin Spaniel, Hope
Our Beautiful Boykin Spaniel, Hope | Source

Adverse Reaction to Frontline Tritak

A day and a half after the first application of Tritak, our angel started having neurological symptoms. This was in retrospect. We did not put it together initially. We first noticed a twitch in her hind leg, like when you scratch a tickle spot. This progressed to a pretty constant thing. She slept with my brother, and her twitching was disrupting his sleep.

After another day or so, I noticed her bladder was leaking. It was subtle at first. I was working from home, and she was laying on the floor. I noticed her coat was damp on her hind quarter, but thought maybe she was just licking and chewing, as spaniels tend to do. Ultimately the floor was wet, and she was so wet there was no denying.

Detoxing Hope

I did some research online on Tritak ingredients. There was certainly nothing that said “eureka!” I found something on twitching as a side effect, but nothing on bladder leakage. But I felt strongly none-the-less that her symptoms were neurological, and related to the Frontline Tritak.

We gave her a bath to remove any residual insecticide from the initial application. We then gave her one milk thistle (silymarin) capsule, twice a day. This is a great detox herb that was recommended to me to rid my system of the anesthesia meds after endoscopy. Hope’s symptoms started improving after a day or so and cleared completely after a few days. We continued the milk thistle for a week to be certain we had done a good detox.

No More Insecticide for Hope

We decided no more Frontline or any other pesticide-based flea treatment for Hope. I don’t believe in coincidence, and convinced it was the Tritek that caused Hope’s symptoms, we were not willing to try any similar product. When you think about it, doesn’t it sound awful that we so commonly introduce insecticides into our pets’ bloodstreams? As you might imagine, it was a challenge to manage fleas without these products. We tried many things in combination and managed as best we could. We had been giving both dogs garlic and yeast tablets off and on for years.

Herbal Sprays and Shampoos

We tried several herbal solutions for flea spray from our doxie’s holistic veterinarian. We sprayed all the dog beds with the natural flea spray. One smelled like cloves, but I preferred the fragrance of the one that had lemongrass. We also liked a mix the vet made with Young Living essential oils.

We ultimately gravitated to Halo products. We used the Halo shampoo regularly. We bought the Halo concentrate and made flea spray, and added a teaspoonful to the shampoo to boost the potency. Halo concentrate and shampoo are available on Amazon and sites like Drs. Foster and Smith. One of our popular community writers, Holle Abee recommended Dawn dish detergent for flea shampoo.

We cleaned the carpet regularly, even if the dry powder and not actually shampooing. We dusted the carpet with diatomaceous earth.

Treating the Yard

We dusted heavily around the porch and exterior door with diatomaceous earth. We had the exterminator treat the yard with what he promised was botanical-based products. I was told you could buy nematodes at plant nurseries, which would help manage fleas in the yard, but it sounded like a lot of work, and had to be watered per strict specifications. Also, fleas were bad that year, and everyone was out of nematodes anyway.

As Hope got older, the fleas were slightly less of a problem because she didn’t go outside as much, and didn’t venture far from the porch, which we kept well dusted.

© 2018 rmcrayne


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