The Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on topical flea treatments after reports of injured pets surged 65 percent in 2008. The agency said Wednesday that it had received complaints of 44,263 injured pets and about 600 deaths for that year.
The EPA said it will develop stricter testing and evaluation requirements for flea and tick treatments that are applied to a pet’s skin. The agency also will begin reviewing labels to determine which ones need to say more clearly how to use the products.
The EPA’s effort follows increasing complaints from pet owners that the “spot-on” products have triggered reactions in dogs and cats, ranging from skin irritation to neurological problems to deaths. Cats and small dogs appear particularly vulnerable, the EPA said, especially when given products intended for larger animals.