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Friday, August 27, 2010

Flea Spray Kills Pets, Suit Alleges

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge Please don't kill me
  • Please don't kill me
Pet owners allege that Bio Spot and Spot On tick and flea repellent sent their cats and dogs into seizures -- and, in some cases, killed them -- in a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco. In some instances, the owners euthanized their pets after they suffered numerous strokes. 

The aggrieved pet owners sued Walnut Creek-based Central Garden and Pet Company and Phoenix-based Farnam Companies, Inc., manufacturers of the tick and flea repellents applied directly to animals' fur, alleging the companies "know, and have known for many years, that these chemicals will substantially injure and/or kill very significant numbers of dogs and cats."

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was evaluating

the Spot On flea treatments, as did Health Canada after an increase

in the cases of adverse reactions in pets. (There's even a website,, dedicated to pet owners warning each other about the products.)

click to enlarge biospotdogs16_30lbs_3pk.jpg
The over-the-counter repellents are significantly cheaper than

products sold through veterinarians, and contain Pyrethrin, a derivative

of chrysanthemum, which has "long been known to poison cats," the suit

states. "In 2008 alone, there were approximately 44,000 reports of

adverse events" from products containing such chemicals, the suit states.

George Yuhas, the San Francisco-based attorney for Central, says "Our reaction is our product performs in accordance with its labeling

instructions and the label has been approved by the EPA. We look forward to

litigating the claim and being vindicated."

The plaintiffs' tales read like a pet lovers' worst nightmare:

  • Susan Cedeno, from Santa Cruz, put the Bio Spot on her dachshund in

    2009. Fifteen minutes later the dog began eating grass and the stuffing

    from a bed, began vomiting, then suffered tremors for 30 days.

  • William Shelby in Texas put Bio Spot on his healthy pit bull, Waggles,

    on July 1. A few days later, Waggles' hair began to fall out, and bumps

    appeared on the dog's back and sides. A week later, the dog began to

    have seizures and lose her eyesight. By July 28, the dog was having

    seizures, had become totally blind, and couldn't swallow food. He

    euthanized the dog on the 29th. 

  • Kyndell Walsh of North Carolina put Bio Spot for Cats on his pet in

    June, and found the cat dead the next morning with no visible injuries.

  • Kathy Ainsley, of Ohio, rubbed Bio Spot for Cats on her four-year-old

    tabby, Petey, last month. The cat started having tremors within a day,

    and within seven days, the tremors turned into seizures. On the eighth

    day, Ainsley euthanized Petey.    

Central's spokesman, Mark Newberg, responded in a statement Friday: "Adverse

reactions to flea and tick products are rare. As pet lovers ourselves,

we take any adverse reaction seriously and investigate all of them

thoroughly. Through our investigations, we have found that in many cases

the reaction may have resulted from a pre-existing medical condition or

misapplication of the product."   

The plaintiffs represent a class of all people who bought the

companies' products containing the allegedly dangerous compounds. They are suing the companies for

violating of numerous consumer laws and seek punitive damages.

H/T   |   Courthouse News

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Lauren Smiley


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