Message Board
search this website
Bio Spot Side Effects
Bio Spot Victims .org
August 2006
I have been shocked and appalled while reading all of the postings on your  web site regarding flea products for dogs and cats.  I had no idea they  were so toxic!  Just last week I had to have my wonderful16-year-old cat  Chauncey euthanized, and I feel in my heart his illness was the result of a  topical flea product.  I had always used Frontline, which my vet  recommended, but I noticed that the over-the-counter products were cheaper, so I  purchased a couple of them.  I put Hartz on him at the end of May, which he  seemed to do OK with.  Then on July 1, I tried the Sergeant's Silver.   The next day, he vomited a large amount.  Then I noticed he wasn't eating,  and he was always a good eater.  Within a few days, he started staggering  and losing his balance and could not jump up on the couch.  I took him to  the vet, and he washed the flea product off and gave him a shot.  He was  better for a day, then back staggering again, so we gave him a complete  bath.  He still would not eat properly, so I returned him to the vet for  more tests and an overnight stay.  The vet said his blood was excellent for  a cat his age and his kidneys were working, but he had fluid in the chest  and abdomen.  He thought he might have an infection, so he gave him another  shot.  I brought him home, but he still would not eat properly.  Then he started with terrible congestion in his lungs, and I returned him to the vet  for more treatment and a two-night stay.  The vet put him on two pills, and  I brought him home again, but he just didn't seem like the same cat.  He  would not do some of the things he had always done.  At this point, he  would not eat any food, only drink milk and water.  Within a few days, he  started staggering worse than ever.  He seemed to be trying to eat, but the food would fall out of his mouth.  He went off into the woods twice, and we found him and brought him back.  Then, he wouldn't even drink anything.  All this happened over a three-week period, and when we took him  to the vet the final time and discussed everything, we decided it was time to let him go.  I realize that at 16 Chauncey was an older cat, and he did  have hyperthyroidism, which I had been giving him Methimazole for 3 years, but  he was doing so well, I thought he might live to be 18 or 19.  It just  seemed like the topical flea product triggered something neurological, which he  could not recover from because of his age.  I think there are many people  like me out there who did not realize the danger of these flea products.  I  thought I was doing something to take care of Chauncey and help him.  I  kept wishing I had continued to use the Frontline which the vet recommended, but  I saw where Frontline and Advantage have also had adverse reactions.  And  Bio Spot, I was totally shocked and sickened at what I was reading!  What  are we doing to our little friends? 

Norene  8/1/06


I am so upset. I was recommended by my groomer to use a new flea preventative called Zodiac. I used it on my ten pound shit-zu. She reacted by running around and whining and biting at her rear end, She also would throw her head back and breath very heavily. She would not sleep and would literally fall asleep sitting up. I took her to my vet and he gave her a shot. I had given her a bath day before I took her to my vet. She is still not sleeping and she breathes with her head back and her mouth open. It just breaks my heart that I did that to her. I hope I haven't killed my dog. I have also ordered a natural flea preventative and I will let you know how that works. Thank you for letting me vent.

Barbara  8/4/06

I sent an e-mail to the EPA and I am sending a letter also. I will contact Zodiac tomorrow and let you know what they said. She is a pedigree Shih-Tzu and so small. She is still having difficulty not being able to nap. Her sides are not heaving as much but she still sits and breathes with her mouth fully open and her head back and her tongue is red.  She is eating and drinking alot. Thank you for your help.

Barbara  8/7/06


I purchased flea and tick frontline for the very first time for my cats and an hour later my cats had respitory problems had to stay at hospital over nite almost died.  I need to know how I can let people know that this could happen to their beloved animal.

Jenn  8/6/06


I just found your web site. I have (or had) 3 wonderful cats. They've never reacted all that well to flea medication; usually they get nauseous for the day but that was all. My youngest, a 13-year-old orange fluff ball, had kidney problems, so the vet told me to use Advantage (as it supposedly doesn't go further than the skin) and not Revolution. This kitty had at least 2 more good years left; unfortunately I applied Advantage to her Friday morning the 14th of July. Twenty-four hours later, I awoke to the poor thing vomiting like crazy. I rushed her to the vet but her body temperature was falling like a rock and her blood was thickening like crazy. She died in my arms 12 hours later. It is obvious she was poisoned. What  mystifies me is that I applied Advantage to her in May but there were no ill effects. This time, however, something went horribly wrong.  She was doing fine otherwise, and I know she didn't eat anything bad  on the 14th so the only factor that had changed was the Advantage. I am still mourning her death and the fact that I may have inadvertently caused it. I am also angry and frustrated that this flea medication was suggested by my vet, who should have known better.

Julia  8/6/06


I applied the correct dosage of Frontline Top Spot to my 9 lb Italian Greyhound on a Sunday while he was lounging in the sun on my deck.  By Tuesday, he was throwing up, very lethargic, not eating or drinking.  To make a long story short.  After 2 emergency visits to the Vet hospital.  Daily visits to my vet for IV fluids.  Vets were baffled.  Blood tests came out Ok.  My puppy then started shaking bad daily constantly and then walking like he was drunk.  After taking him to a neurologist they said Shaker Dog syndrome which can be caused by a chemical poisoning.  Funny, he is fine now.  It took 5 very long weeks to get him better.  About how long the Frontline product lasts in your system.  That product poisoned my dog.  Be very careful if you have a purebred fragile dog.  I am still fighting with  Muriel to get my Vet bills paid.  They said they would refund the Product cost.  Big deal. Thank God it didn't kill my dog.  I am filing a complaint with the attorney generals office.  I never cried so much or was so stressed in my life.  I felt so bad for my puppy.  I will only use all natural products on my pet from now on. 

Michelle  8/8/06

Hi James.  Just an update.  I just found out last night a distant cousin who has a new small dog also just applied the 2nd dose of Frontline and her dog is falling over etc also.  I am trying to contact her.  So far I have a case with the attorney generals office and a case with the EPA in Philly.  I did contact our local channel 3 consumer guy about doing a story and trying to help me get my money back (although by now its an accountabliliy thing not the money)  He did email be back about my home phone numbers. So I am excited.  Possibly we will get the word out.  It's funny that Merial is very secretive about who the President of the Company is.  I am still trying to get someone important there.  I can't get past the secretary and putting me on with Sr Vet technicians.  I don't want them.  I wish I knew how to start my own web page.  I will learn. That will be next.  By the way I'm sure you get alot of emails.  I have the small Italian Greyhound and used the Frontline Top Spot.  The lady from the Epa suggested I might have gotten a kind of bootlegged batch.  Well just wanted to keep you informed.  If you can get me an important name at Merial I would appreciate it. 

Michelle from Phila  8/29/06

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for the update!  Here is the addess for Merial Ltd.:

Merial Ltd.
2100 Ronson Road
Iselin, NJ  08830-3077

Tel: 1-888-637-4251, Option 5 (Health Information)

Here is a link to Merial's website, which shows their top executives:

If you send Merial a letter, I would send it Certified Mail with a signature request on delivery.

I hope that Channel 3 will do a story about you.  They may be able to shame Merial into reimbursing your vet expenses.  Regarding counterfeit products,  if you purchased the Frontline from your vet, it is unlikely that you have a counterfeit product.  To help identify the real product, here is a link to the EPA's website:

I hope that your dog has fully recovered and is well.  Please ask your cousin to email me the details of her dog's reaction and I will post it on my website.

Thanks again,

James TerBush

If there are any other Phila Complaints from Adverse Reactions to Flea Meds they can contact Magda Rodriguez Hunt at her [EPA] office.  The number is 215-814-2128 .  She is the one working on my case. 


Michelle  9/2/06


we had recently switched from using front line plus to bio spot which was recommended by pet land. now  i wish we had never done that. we had used it several times before, but one evening when used, our norweidgen elk hound went into convulsions. we quickly put our other dog away and ran her to an emergency vet clinic. they were able to save her, but when we returned home our other dog  was dead. we were devistated. the clinic wrote out a report for us implicating bio spot as the cause.

Anonymous  8/8/06

I have a pomeranian (under a year) and started her on K9 Advantix five months ago.  Each time we applied it she was not happy and ran around the house trying to wipe it off.  And afterwards was very tired. She seemed to be moping around.  We thought she was mad that we put it on her.

Well last night was the fifth application.  We had a much worse reaction.  After applying she was breathing very heavy.  And just laid around like she was sick.  I couldn't get her to come or play.  Her behavior  was very strange all evening.  Even when she woke up in the morning - she wasn't  herself.   And in the am she was still trying to wipe it off. 

Next month I am going to try frontline plus as we do have a tick problem where I live - south florida.

I could never use K9 Advantix again.  After the whole episode, I did a search and found your site with all the side effects.  To think I might have hurt my little baby!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Lisa  8/10/06


I made a fatal mistake with Biospot last night! We have 7 cats and 2 dogs that have fleas. I asked for recommendations from friends and family members as to what treatments they use and have found effective. Bathing the animals in Dawn and treating with Biospot was the most offered advice. Now I have 2 cats seizing, another cat that I can't find anywhere and likely in trouble. This is entirely my fault as I used Biospot for dogs on these 3 cats, when I ran out of the Biospot for cats. The 2 cats were found thismorning at 5am seizing and likely have been doing so all night as they were treated around 6pm. It is very likely that they will be put down. I went to the web site listed on the package only to find that it offersmore of their products and no assistance for this situation. I then sat horrified reading the letters from pet owners on your site. Had this problem not have occurred I may have continued to use these products.Thank you for providing valuable information, unfortunately I found you too late! I made the terrible assumption that a few drops of the small dog treatment should be okay on my cats. Fortunately, I followeddirections on all our other pets and they appear to be fine. However, many letters on your site are from people who followed the package directions and still had pets in danger. Time will only tell if othertreated animals with no immediate ill effects will develop health problems later on.

Jamie  8/11/06

I will contact Farnam as they do need more information packaged with their product. I take full responsibility for poisoning my cats as the package stated not to put dog formula on cats. Rereading the packagesI do not find anywhere that it CLEARLY states that one tube is to be used as one treatment. A strong warning stating that using even a drop or 2 of the dog formula on cats can be deadly would have prevented our situation. We are feeling incredibly fortunate as 2 of our cats have recovered. Our female had been laying in one place seizing for about 15 hours and as I was preparing to dig a grave when I noticed that she had walked (stumbled) a few feet. I washed the application area thoroughly, rubbed and petted her vigorously and used a childs medication dropper to give her water over the next few hours. We had to leave for an event out of town and were gone for the next 9 hours. Arriving home she was walking and only slightly shaky. Today she is her oldself again. We found the lost tom cat. He was not seizing as badly and recovered 3 hours after being washed and rehydrated.  We have not found the other male and fearthe worst as he was in terrible shape before disappearing.

Jamie  8/12/06


Thank you for the great site.  It was time to replace the Frontline and I came across the less expensive alternative, Bio Spot.  After reading your message board not only will I NOT be purchasing the Bio Spot but I am going to also forego the Frontline and purchase some holistic flea, tick, mosquito repellent sprays.  I always knew that Frontline was a pesticide, but doing some research was an 'in your face' wake up call about how my laziness can hurt my dogs health.  Sure, a once a month treatment is so much easier than having to use a spray a few times a week and every time my dog goes in the water - after all, the Frontline has always worked so well, I've never ever had a flea or tick problem.  But what have I done to my dog's health over this time?  In addition, I was speaking with a friend about this and he said, "Well, the heartworm medication you give her is a pesticide too."  Sure enough, it is.  I've always only given Interceptor heartworm prevention in the summer months - I'm now considering stopping that all together too.  Any comments?

Debra  8/11/06


I applied Bio Spot to my German Shepherd Lily, and now 3 weeks later she still has bloody sores on her skin where the Bio Spot was applied. You can't even pet her without her whimpering in pain. It goes up her back, because the instructions say to start at the neck and go down the back of the dog. I have washed her and it doesn't help. I feel so bad, I will never put poison on my dogs again to keep ticks away. I just wish I knew how long to expect this stuff to last in her system. THANK YOU for this website, I wish I had read it sooner. If it can help other pet owners from buying this awful stuff it is worth it!

Anthony  8/12/06


I purchased this item [Advantage Flea and Tick for Dogs] and used on my Shih Tzu, 5 ½ years old.  The next day, Ozzy, my Shih Tzu, was vomiting continuously, listless, and wouldn't eat at all!   I didn't find this site until now, but on the next day,  I knew I just had to wash him and get all that poison off of his skin!  The nextcouple of days he was moving around a lot more but still no appetite!! Ozzy was perfectly fine before I applied the Advantage on him!!!  His appetite was normal, always hungry, and active!  Needless to say, I disposed of the rest of the Advantage immediately!!!  This type of product should not be allowed to be sold!!!  It is seriously making our pets ill and in some cases killing them!!

Glen  8/13/06


I applaud your valiant act of standing up to Farnam for the loss of so many pets from the application of flea treatments.  However,  I am in dire need of any information about large animals having an adverse reaction to a Farnam produced fly spray.  Tonight a friend sprayed a formerly very healthy two year old black Arabian colt with a Farnam product.  Within 15 minutes the colt was on his knees.  Then on his side seizing.  He would rest for a few minutes, get up and stagger around.  Then stiffen, sway and fall over again.  The vet was called immediately but was stumped by the symptoms.  He ultimately concluded that the colt had severed his optic nerves while having a seizure so the colt was put down.  The vet would not commit to blaming the fly spray as a cause.  It just seems too coincidental to me that the colts symptoms mimic many of those I read on your site that were experienced by dogs.  Horse owners....Please, please, if you have had a horse that had an adverse reaction to a fly product please post it.  We need to know how widespread this problem has become and make others aware. 

Rae  8/14/06

And by the way, my daughter in law lost both of her children's cats when an employee of a well known nationwide pet store chain told her she could use Bio Spot for dogs on the cats.  It was horrible seeing their seizures and frothing at the mouth.  I think there are tens of thousands of cases out there that have gone unreported.  Thanks again. 

Rae  8/15/06

I just received email this morning concerning a similar incident which happened last weekend in Massachusettes.  Here is the article about it:

You're absolutely right - most of these incidents go unreported because people either do not suspect that an adverse reaction occurred or they do not know who to report it to.  These incidents are difficult even for vets to diagnose because the symptoms can be caused by many things and the pesticide is not detected by standard blood tests.

James TerBush


Thankfully, my little chihuahua did not have the extreme adverse reactions about which others have taken the time to post.  However, he was never quite himself after a BioSpot application.  I have not used this product since first stumbling across your website several years ago.

First, I would like to thank you for hosting and maintaining this website, as it helped me make an informed decision a few years ago to stop the use of all pesticides.  In addition, it increased my level of awareness that the pet care industry is a business model driven by profits, not necessarily what is best for your pet.  It reassured me that I should trust my own instincts when it came to the care of my pet.  I should have known just by my dog's reaction to the product that it was doing more harm than good, but I trusted the label, the corporate website, and authority figures.

After your website opened my eyes, I began to question other areas of my pet's care and well being.  Formerly, I just accepted what the vet told me as gospel, as he ordered up excessive tests and whatever else to rack up the bills for my healthy dog.  I did more research and found what I feel to be a much better vet, who cares about my dog more than the amount of my bill at check out.  (I still get ill thinking that I was applying this poison to my mainly inside dog in the dead of winter per my vet's orders!)  In addition,I became educated in dog food, treats, and other products ingested by dogs. While I was not feeding my dog a horrible brand of food, I was able to find him a much more nutritious organic brand.  I learned all about by-products and the lack of regulations on any edible made in China.  My point is that you cannot simply accept what a label or major corporation says as being 100% truthful, and that by doing some research and following your instincts, you can often improve the well being of your pet's life.

I have stopped in on your site from time to time, and it wrenches at my heart to read the accounts of what others have been through.  Each time I read these accounts, I get sick thinking about the danger I exposed my dog to by using BioSpot and wonder about the possible long term health risks. There are many accounts of severe adverse reactions directly leading to a rapid decline of health, and in the worst cases death.  Are there any reports of what the long term health risks may have been caused by using BioSpot in those who had no immediate severe adverse reaction?  I am grateful that my dog did not have a severe reaction to the product, but I have to wonder if there could be long term health risks of being exposed tothe product on and off for almost a year.

Lastly, I would like to tell you about two products that I have found helpful in keeping my dog flea free in a safe way.  Ark Naturals sells a Neem Protect Spray, a completely organic spray, which contains Neem,citronella oil, botanical essential oils and gentle emulsifiers.  The product contains no DEET, pyrethrins, pyrethroids or other chemical pesticides.  You simply need to spray your pet every 7 to 10 days with theproduct.  It is sold in Whole Foods supermarket for under $10.   Also, Castor and Pollux sells a Garlic and Brewer's Yeast tablet that my little guy loves.  Some people swear by garlic and brewer's yeast, while others say that it is simply and old wives tale.  I have found it to be successful thus far; however, bear in mind that my dog isn't very outdoorsy.

Thank you again for your website, and thanks to the people who have taken the time to post their stories.  I hope that you can succeed in removing these products from store shelves, but if that never happens, rest assured that your website has saved countless loved ones from needless medical problems, and even death.

Kip  8/14/06


Bio Spot killed my baby. He was almost 10 years old and I put Bio Spot on him and he died.  He was the best doggie in the world.

Cathy  8/16/06


Our Lab, Daisy, just went to the vet this morning after an application of Hartz last night.  We are praying for her and waiting for the vet to call!!!

Lizabeth  8/16/06


(This letter was published in the MetroWest Daily News on 8/16/06)

I read the article "Cat dies after flea treatment" (8/16/06) with great interest. I lost a dog some years ago after using a similiar product, in my case, Frontline.

After Speedy died, I did some research and discovered that there are no standards for veterinary products the way there are for products used by humans. As such, the liability for companies who produce these products are limited to, as an example, the monetary value of a healthy, happy, 10-year-old neutered dog.

In fact, I found out that the person who had done the work to determine the safety of the product was no longer with the company and had taken his work with him. They didn't even have the data to share. I also discovered that the number of animals who die from these treatments is not small.

We applied it to our dog in the evening before bed and he was dead three hours later. Insects have been around for a very long time and will continue to be around long after we're gone. It's just a fact of life that the neurotoxins required to kill fleas and ticks are very potent and are the same neurotoxins that can have serious impacts on higher life forms.

In the woods where I live, dealing with fleas and ticks is not an option: it's mandatory. Despite what happened to our family member, we still have to take measures, but there are things that you can do to minimize the risk of using these products, especially if it's the first time:

* Do not apply if the animal has any breaks in the skin. Welts from previous insect bites are just an opportunity for the neurotoxin to penetrate. The point is to coat the skin and not to enter the body.

* Do not apply them on a Friday night when it's going to be problematic to find a vet. Do it on a Monday morning.

* Keep a close eye on the animal for a few days to make sure that it's not affected.

* Keep a bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent in the house. If the animal exhibits neurological symptoms of distress (e.g., staggering around in circles, falling down, excessive panting, etc...), your vet will have something to help remove the treatment, but before that Dawn is your best bet. Bath the animal, and do your best to get it off. (Don't get it in their eyes.)

* Get the animal to a vet as soon as possible. If symptoms develop, it generally will get bad very quickly.

The goal of the manufacturers is to sell more product, not less. As a result, they're not going to go out of their way to educate the public, but there's no reason for people to not be educated from other vectors.

Steven W. Orr is a Framingham resident.



Dear Rame and Kate:

I see that you are the two individuals at the EPA who deal with pesticide labelling for flea and tick control (Rame) and for reports of adverse reactions to same (Kate).

After doing a very small bit of online research as the result of numerous stories in our local news about cats and dogs that have suffered seizures or death because of flea and tick control, I have to say I am amazed that the legitimate sites I went to (Purdue University, Vetrinary associations, public health sites) gave lots of information about applying various products to floors, baseboards, rugs, couches, furniture, etc. with warnings about pre-testing to make sure the product doesn't stain the floors, baseboards, couch coverings - but not a single warning about NOT using these over the counter home products if the user is pregnant, nursing, or if a baby or toddler is crawling around the house, on the couch, or in the yard.  While to many it might be obvious, to others, the statement that it can be sprayed or dusted everywhere, with the only concern being staining, but  "read the label", just seems terribly inadequate. I don't understand why EVERYONE who puts out information on flea and tick control products (not just the sellers of flea and tick control products), isn't required to warn "not for use where infants and toddlers may be exposed". For gosh sakes, if the universities and extensions services and public health services are warning about staining of floors, rugs and upholstery, SHOULDN'T THEY BE WARNING ABOUT THE DANGER OF EXPOSURE TO SUSCEPTIBLE LIVING POPULATIONS LIKE CHILDREN???

I saw your new labelling requirements for these pesticides where manufacturers get to choose:

         3.   Clarify Reapplication Limitation.

         The reapplication statement needs to be product
         specific; and the statement should be one of the

              (a)  "Do not Reapply Product For _____ _____.
                   (Insert number of day(s), week(s) or

              (b)  "Reapply every _____ _____." (Insert number
                   of day(s), week(s), or month(s).)

              (c)  "Do Not Repeat Treatment For _____ _____."
                   (Insert number of day(s), week(s), or

              (d)  "Repeat every _____ _____." (Insert number
                   of day(s), week(s) or month(s).)

Seems like with all the problems, and with knowing human nature where people might think "if every six weeks is good, every four weeks might be better", you would insist on the language "do not repeat for xxx weeks" - or are pesticide users not charged with knowledge of human nature (which they use to their advantage as an excuse why the pesticide manufacturer is not responsible because the end user didn't follow instructions).

People rely on the EPA to require adequate warnings to protect them from harm, but it seems that the warnings required for these products and the experts who give advice on them (universities, public health agencies, vetrinary associations) are inadequate and do not take into consideration the reality of the average consumer, their reliance on the safety of the pesticides when they are told to spray them everywhere in their houses, and the small children and pets who will unwittingly be adversely affected as a result. I urge you, and I have urged others to write and urge you, to require "do not repeat" warnings, to require warnings about use where infants and toddlers are more heavily exposed because they crawl on floors and couches and put their hands in their mouths, and to require ANY so-called expert or advisory agency or university or extension service, to include similar warnings. I don't think it is ok to worry more about staining a couch than injuring (perhaps permanently, since the pesticides attack nervous systems and memory) impairing our infants and children. I hope others will also write or email you and let you know they also would like our EPA to insist on appropriate warnings.

Irene 8/19/06


I have used Frontline Plus on my 2 boxers for about 4 years without any complaints until now.  After reading some of the stories on your website I am now concerned.  Here is my story.

After applying Frontline to my 6 year old boxer I noticed she was not  eating well and seemed to feel bad.  I blamed it on the unseasonable humid  weather.  When this continued and I noticed her trying to throw up I took  her to the vet. All the labs were normal and the vet could find nothing wrong  with her.  I took her home and she continued to not eat and just lay around.  She started to act confused- continous walking around in a large  circle, going and standing in front of my son's door with her head pressed up  against the door, I would open the door and show her that my son was not here  and that would satisfy her for a little while and she would repeat this  behavior.  We continued the vet visits without any diagnosis.  She  would not eat, I would use a syringe to feed her and give her water, she didn't  want me to do that, she didn't want to eat or drink. (She always loved food, in  fact she was overweight) We spent her final 5 days at the vets office, emergency clinic, and she was hospitilized at the emergency clinic at night so that IV fluids could be  maintained 24 hours a day.  She then started to experience seizures. She  was very weak from all this but her heartrate would drop and she would fall to  the floor. We had every vet at the facility and other vets in the  surrounding area looking at her.  We even called in a cardioligist, he  could not explain why this happened. She was so disoriented, I think at  times she didn't even realize who I was.  EVERY TEST WAS NORMAL. My son  came home from college to see her and she awoke and seemed to recognize him, she  loved on him for about 10 minutes and collapased in his arms, her heartrate  dropped and atropine didn't work this time. We loved on her for the longest time  and finally we decided she had suffered enough. So why did my beloved boxer have  to suffer and die?  My vet seems to think she possible had a brain  tumor. Could it have been the Frontline?  Does this sound like any other stories  you have encountered?

Thanks for listening

Reba 8/19/06

Thank you for responding to my email. When I wrote that I was crying so hard over losing my female boxer that I forgot to tell you that my male has ITP (Immune Thrombocytopenia).  Symptoms a little different but I feel this is all caused by the Frontline.  I had reapplied about 3 weeks ago and noticed some of the same symptoms but not as severe as with my female boxer.   He is currently on medication and will eval the tx again on Monday.

I will discuss the possiblity of Frontline with my vet.  I feel in my heart that Frontline has been the cause of death of my female boxer, and the current illness of my male boxer.

thank you again

Reba  8/19/06

and I will become an advocate against these types of medications for our beloved pets.


This report is not just for pet owners, but also for PARENTS.  Please read and pass along.

The following comes from a well-respected veterinarian, Elizabeth A Coney, DVM from Kentucky.  She writes:

"Now - for every one of you that has a home paper shredder with an "auto on" feature, I want you to go turn it off and unplug the paper shredder right now, because night before last I was presented with a paper shredder containing most of a tongue, ripped out from the base, but still partially attached to, a very pretty,sweet 1 1/2 year-old Labrador. Her owners told me, 'She always watched the paper go into the shredder, she thought it fascinating'. The "auto on" feature means the shredder sits there waiting for something to get placed into it--like an inquisitive tongue. I told them, 'Dogs can do fine without a tongue, they have to learn to drink and eat differently', but the owners didn't want to go there, and they had her euthanized.  The look in her eyes said, 'I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't supposed to do that, it's all my fault'.  We all cried."

I cried when I read this as well. In subsequent posts, Dr. Coney says she has learned that dogs who have lost more than half their tongues actually don't do as well as she had been taught. According to the veterinary literature it is also possible for animals to be injured other places than tongues - a Basset lost an ear, a long-haired cat most of the skin on its side, a kitten a foot, etc.  Among household pets, dogs are particularly at risk from shredders, as they have a tendency to lick things, and many breeds have long, floppy ears that can get caught in shredder openers.

The Spokesman Review published this account:

Adam Forney doesn't even own a paper shredder. And he probably never will.  The 22-year-old was sitting on his couch in his south Spokane home watching television when his 7-month-old puppy licked the top of his roommate's shredder and the dog's tongue was sucked into the shredding mechanism.  "I ran into the room ... she was pulling so hard and the thing was dragging ... then she just ripped away," Forneysaid. "I will never forget the sound it made when she pulled away."  In the chaos of trying to help his injured dog, Forney's pinky finger was bitten off at the first joint, and another finger was fractured by the bite.  "I grabbed her head to try and get her to calm down, and she bit me," Forney said. "She ran out of the room and I just lost it. It looked like a murder scene in my house ... there was so much blood."  Forney went to the emergency room, and his mixed-breed dog, Alice Lane, went to a local pet emergency clinic, where she was euthanized.

Some veterinarians maintain that serious shredder accidents involving animals are rare, but the frequency of occurrence is difficult to estimate since there has not been any systematic effort to keep track of such injuries.

Regardless, the subject merits attention since the potential for accidents (involving both pets AND people) will likely continue to grow as more and more shredders make their way into households.  It isn't difficult to find harrowing reports of children being seriously injured through sticking their fingers into shredders, such as the following account from Consumer Reports: 

Lisa Broadfoot's son, Talan, was helping her shred documents, when suddenly his little fingers got sucked in.  "He screamed and then was begging me to get his hands out of this machine, 'Please Mommy, Please Mommy, get my hand out.' [He was] just screaming and crying and begging," Broadfoot said. Lisa rushed Talan to the hospital with the shredder still attached.  "They started cutting the blades because therewas no other way to get his fingers undone," she said. "It was like he could feel it. He just started screaming again and I'm holding him and trying to explain to him that it's going to be OK. It's going to be OK." Talan ended up losing three of his fingers.

In March 2006, TV's Inside Edition reported a similar case of injury to a child:

When you meet Hallie Mouritsen, you cant tell that there's anything wrong with this beautiful five year-old girl. But if you look closer at Hallie's left hand, her fingers are cut off at the knuckle. The doctor described them as being "crushed, mutilated and non-viable."  How did it happen? Hallie was feeding paper into ashredder in her home when her fingers got caught in its powerful blades. According to her father, Matt, "it grabbed her fingers and just began pulling."   Mr. Mouritsen is an accounting professor in Salt Lake City, Utah who often works at home. He says he had just opened the shredder for the first time and after using it,left the room briefly. Hallie, who was just two, went into the room with her older sister.  "The next thing I know, while I'm making dinner, my five year-old is yelling, she's stuck, she's stuck!" he told Inside Edition's Investigative Reporter Matt Meagher.  Hallie's wounds took months to heal. Her dad still chokes upremembering Hallie's reaction the day the bandages came off. "She went like this with her hand" (hiding his left hand). "She couldn't even look at it. She asks us to this day, when are my fingers going to grow back?"

And Hallie's not the only one. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a safety alert after receiving 50 reports of injuries from paper shredders since 2000, most involving children younger than five.  Although consumer safety groups are working to get manufacturers and lawmakers to adopt more stringent safety standards for shredders (such as making paper slots thinner and placing bladesfarther away from openings), the adoption of new standards takes time, and plenty of the machines already have been purchased for home use.

The likelihood of injury can be mostly eliminated by following a few simple precautions:

  * Try to place your shredder where it is not accessible to children or pets.

  * Turn off, or better yet, UNPLUG your shredder when you are not using it.

  * NEVER allow children to operate your shredder, even with adult  supervision.

  * Keep your hands and fingers as far from the shredder opening as possible  when feeding material into it.

  * Be careful to secure or remove ties, necklaces, bracelets, loose-fitting clothing, and long hair before using your shredder.

  * Avoid putting thicker material (such as food wrappers, product packaging, and padded envelopes) through your shredder.

Kari  8/20/06


My almost four year old Cavalier had his first seizure at 18 months the day following his discovery of a rat's nest. He bit into a baby rat. The vet assured me that this could in no way cause the seizure. Since then he has had eight more. Coincidently they seem to occur about three days after his dose of Frontline Top Spot and Interceptor at his weight of 32 lbs. My vet still does not think this is the cause and said he has researched the findings. In the last week Casey has also contracted Pancreatitis along with high liver enzymes caused by Phenorbarbital. So I have been very frustrated but so happy to have discovered your site. Keep up the good work and my boy is  coming off chemicals while I look into a safer product to use.

Thank you so much.

Anonymous  8/21/06

I talked to a tech at Merial and she said to take with a grain of salt the testimonials from pet owners. She said no way Frontline could cause seizures. Right! I was not sure if it was the Interceptor or Frontline causing my Cavalier to be so sick. This month I used just the Interceptor and it has been five days with nothing bad happening. The vet with Novartis (Interceptor) was very helpful and concerned. I found a site called Canine Epilepsy Resources and  researched a liver cleansing diet of white fish and vegetables. I have been feeding Casey that for a month and he is feeling so much improved. He was suffering from a borderline pancreatitis caused by the phenobarbital. My  goal now is to eventually get him off the drug if I know for sure that the Frontline is the cause.

Any other ideas about treatment for preventing heart worms?

Anonymous  9/14/06

My Cavalier Casey has had two years of seizures. I finally decided it was caused either by Interceptor or Frontline or combination of both. He has been seizure free since August 5 when I quit giving him Frontline. Neither Merial or my vet are convinced that the Frontline is the cause. I am and have had to treat him for pancreatitis and feed him home cooked vegetables and white fish.

Are there any cases where Merial has taken responsibility for at least some of the vet's bills?

Anonymous  10/21/06


My name is Carol and I'm a school nurse ( k-6). My story goes like this, on July 8th my precious dog Bailey woke me out of a deep sleep with seizure activity that lasted about 2 minutes. I know seizure activity because I work with special needs children. After I consoled her, I called the emergency animal hospital and had her there within an hour. Bailey had the full work-up, labs etc and stayed overnight for observation. Bailey is now on phenobarbital 15mg 2x daily. Bailey was seizure free until 1am this past sunday morning, she experienced another seizure but lasting only 1 minute.  The common link when I checked my calendar was that I applied frontline 24 to 36 hrs prior to the seizures.  I visited my regular vet today and she said that she never had any experience with adverse reactions to frontline. ..................My Bailey will never have another application of any brand of flea product!  We are going to observe her for the next six weeks and if she remains free of seizures I will stop the phenobarb........I was so upset, I thought that she was dying. I found your sight and a few others, i hope she has a full recovery and a long life.................


Carol & Bailey  8/21/06



I don't know if you remember me-

I wrote you back in March, when my kitten Carmel had touched my dog Oscar after I dosed him with bio-spot.  The kitten spent the night at the vet's but did recover.

Oscar had been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy two years ago.  He has been on pheaobarb for the past two years.

Well, I am happy to report that Oscar is fine and has not had a seizure since I stopped using bio-spot.  I took me four months to wean him off the drugs.  The vet says there should be no lasting effects.

As I think back now, the seizures came in cycles.  Every few weeks he would start to have a series of seizures, then we would up the phenobarb and he would be good for a few weeks.  Then it would start all over again.  I can't believe that I did not connect the two. However I did use the bio-spot for about two years before it affected him. 

I'm almost thankful that Carmel had a reaction, otherwise Oscar's life would have been cut short (phenobarb destroys the liver over time).  As it  turned out, Carmel saved Oscar's life.  We remind him of that every time she jumps on him and chews on his tail.

I thank you again for web site.   I sure its takes some time to keep up with all of it.  I really do appreciate all your help.  I have passed the word to everyone I know,  including a cousin who owns a kennel and had been selling the stuff.  They had never had any problems bio-spot, but are now done with it too.

Best wishes,

Taryn  8/21/06


I am so sad when I read all the stories of the lost lives.  I have 2 cats that are the world to me.  One is a 1 year old grey and white tiger name Cat, the other is a black and red calico who just turned 7 months old, her name is Angel.  In the last year of my life my husband and I seperated, this destroyed me and my 5 year old son.  Where we moved to we were unable to keep dogs, so I agreed to get a cat.  I was always a dogperson so I had and still have little knowledge on cats.  I spend alot of time on the internet to get answers. As a single mom my financial situation made it difficult to buy some of the more expensive products for fleas.  I am sure that every cat owner has had an issue with fleas, mine has been reoccuring all summer now.  I have purchased about 5 different products and still every 30-45 days the girls have fleas again.

I try to buy items with "gentle" ingredients because Cat has extremely sensitive skin.  As I was trying tolook for something that "worked" I came across your website.  As I read it I thought at first it was another one of those "Blog" sites that someone was upset for some reason.  But as I read on I sat and cried.  See I have a bottle of Biospot.  I did use it on the cats very litely but was concerned about the girls licking it off their fur and possibly getting sick.  Never thinking that they would sell a product that would KILL an animal. As I looked on the internet I found every site that listed Biospot also stated that some animals have "reactions and are not recommended by most Vets"--my question--then why is it on the market?  Is the product so wonderful that some peoples pets lives are worth the price of their stock???

Well, I am so sorry that so many people lost their pets and so grateful for your site.  My bottle of Biospot will be going back to the store in exchange for some good cat treats.

Melissa, Christopher, Cat and Angel  8/26/06


i bought some spot on from pets at home for my puppy cane corso, he is 14 weeks old and states the product is suitable for pups. 24 hours after applying the liquid he started having fits. he had 6 in the space of a couple of hours and was kept in the emergency hospital over night. he has now had to be prescribed phenobarb to help control the seizures and has to return to the vets for follow ups. i never knew the consequences of the reaction this stuff could have on my boy. why are products still available on the market that can make a perfectly healthy dog so ill.

dawn  8/27/06


Nice Website.
Has many of the same types of stories that I used to hear in private practice. It is good to compile this sort of forum for these issues. I would like to add my two cents in as a former member of the pet care community. Please read important disclaimer at the end:

Perhaps the take home message is this - The FDA does not regulate pet over-the-counter products as they do human products, which is why many of the products in the pet stores are frequently associated with these side effects, most notably sensitivities and seizures. Use these products on your pets at your own risk! Even veterinarians who dispense FDA-standard tested products such as Frontline, Program, Advantage, and Revolution (which is prescription-only product) cannot anticipate individual side effects to these products. None-the-less, the potential side effects are similar for all products: skin sensitivies or hair loss due to the drug vehicle, systemic allergic reaction- vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, frothing at the mouth, abnormal behavior, and seizures... especially in cats. These side effects occur most notably with non-veterinary approved OTC products because these products contain some type of pyrethrin derivitive (permethrin, methoprim, etc). Do not put pyrethrins on cats and be wary of such products on puppies or rabbits, dogs with seizure predispositions, and small dogs. In practice, I had seen many cats seizure on OTC products and dogs and cats have mild to severe skin or systemic reactions to OTC products and mild to moderate reactions with some veterinary-approved products (and in 3 of the 9 cases were purchased over-seas or by other 'illegal' means).

Is there a safe product? No. Is there another natural product that is effective? No (and all-natural products can also pose a risk, especially since they are not tested). What does that mean? It means we can only continue to use the best, safest products tested on the market, or none at all. But, in the past 15 years, parasite control products have gone from very dangerous with no continuity in the testing process, to products that have been tested and self-regulated by very well-known pharmaceutical companies that are willling to put their name behind their product.

What can you do as a consumer? Be cautious - remember you are buying a product that is meant to poison parasites. Buy only veterinary-approved products that have undergone testing. Be quick to report any suspected reaction to both the veterinarian and to the company that made the product - this ensures that these reactions are being documented frequently enough to warrant examination and alterations to these products. Continue to be informed, well-knowledged pet-owners about these products and their side effects. Understand that pets can also get diseases, illnesses, seizures, and tumors that may appear to coinside with the product use (or recovery with the discontinuation) but may not be correlated at all -- so it is important to talk to your vet, have your pet regularly checked, and have appropriate diagnostics done if advised by your veterinarian to rule out- or rule in anti-parasitic drug causes - again, the more these can be diagnosed as due to the product, the more incentive these companies have to improve the products.

(As a neccessary disclaimer- above are the opinions of one individual and do not reflect the opinions of the AVMA, the veterinary community, or any pharmaceutical company. These opinions are not meant to treat, diagnose, or be used as second opinion or a legal stance to any treated animal. Any mention to specific products is meant only to give examples of OTC vs 'veterinary-approved' products and does not endorse or incriminate any product, organization, company or individual.) For information in regards to the official AVMA platform for anti-parasite use, please visit For information regarding a specific product, please contact the company that produces the product or the Better Business Bureau).

April  8/27/06


As a preventative measure to keep fleas away, the local vet recommended "Advantage".  Our two cats are brother and sister and 17 weeks old; each is just over 4 lbs and both very, very active.  The are house cats and only go outside on a harness.

The female was the first to show symptoms:  1) loss of appetite 2) lethargy 3) muscle weakness or pain 4) a limp in one leg .  We were worried so she was taken to the vet on a Sunday.  Nothing was found except a dehydration issue.  After blood tests, fluids were added and an anti-inflammatory (also a $250 vet bill) she was back to her old self in a few days.  Within two days of the female getting sick, the male showed exactly the same symptom (except the limp).  He couldn't even jump onto the couch without help.  Off to the vet again and with the same treatment (this time including , x-rays), the bill was another $230.  Nothing found again and same recovery after a few days.  These symptoms were noticed 2 days after applying the Advantage (4 days for the male). The exact symptoms/problems are on other sights on the internet for dogs and Advantage (small percent of population) but no one has reported this on cats that I have found.  The dosage was applied correctly and the medicine grade was for young cats but I am certain "Advantage" is the cause.   Our initial cost of the flea drug was refunded but the $480 is gone forever. 

James: could you post this email as a warning about this type of medicine and it's risks?  Maybe other pet owners have experienced the same problem.

Dennis and Barb  8/29/06
Chatham, Ontario,Canada
Copyright © 2002-2009  All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER:  Below are messages that I have received from others whose dogs and cats experienced adverse reactions after using flea control products.  I have no way of knowing if the information in these messages is factual, or if the products they used were the actual cause of the adverse reactions.