There has been growing concern about whether the very high use of pesticides in dog and cat flea treatments may be affecting the environment. This is one of the reasons why Chippy Vets – unlike many other practices – does not strongly advocate year-round flea treatment, and why we do not have a ‘peat health plan’ to supply such products year round. We feel that such blanket use of these products does not constitute responsible usage of these very powerful, and highly persistent in the environment, pesticides.
Rose Perkins, a vet who used to work here at Chippy Vets, is now doing a PhD at the University of Sussex looking at the usage of dog and cat flea treatments. Rose, her PhD supervisor Prof. Dave Goulson (founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust), and Chippy vet Martin Whitehead have just published a paper analysing levels of fipronil (the active ingredient of many spot-on flea products, including Frontline and Broadline) and imidacloprid (the active ingredient of many other spot-on flea products including Advocate, Advantage and Soresto collars) in English rivers.
They have found that there is widespread pollution of English rivers by these pesticides, especially fipronil and some of its highly toxic breakdown products. They have also found that the concentrations of these chemicals increased the closer the sampling site was to waste-water treatment plants, suggesting the chemicals are coming from households, i.e., likely from dog and cat flea treatments coming off the animal and entering drainage water.