Cyphenothrin Toxicity: Negative Reactions to Sergeant’s Gold Flea and Tick Squeeze On in Dogs
Find Cautionary Sites by Googling Sergeant’s Gold
I want to start out by saying that there are lots of websites and message boards online that tell you not to use Sergeant‘s Gold Flea and Tick Squeeze On, and they are all correct; however, I (like may people) had not seen them when I did use this product and my dog experienced problems with it.
In the course of this incident, I talked to quite a few people who advised me that over-the-counter flea products are worthless and dangerous and should never be used. That may very well be true, but I know that there are lots of people just like me who want to do something to keep fleas off their pets and simply do not have the money to buy prescription products from the vet.
I fully understand that choosing to buy OTC flea products is not necessarily a matter of not thinking your pet is worth the money (as many people will imply). It’s a matter of just not having the money. Although, I now think you would be wise not to choose this particular product, the purpose of this article is not to tell you not to use this product.
The purpose of this article is to tell you what to expect and what to do if you do use this product and your dog has problems. I am writing this article because, when I was looking for just this kind of information online, I didn’t find it! So here’s what happened with me and my dog. I hope it’s helpful to you.
Symptoms can be hard to read in naturally anxious dogs!
There are many over-the-counter preparations for fighting fleas and tick in dogs, and this time of year, is the time when many of them are sold. I’ve used a variety of brands for a number of years without problems. I’ve heard that other people’s dogs have had negative reactions, but that has not been the case with my dogs; however, yesterday I got a little careless and neglected to read the application instructions before giving my dogs their first flea treatment of the flea season.
I applied Sergeant’s Gold Flea and Tick Squeeze On as I had applied a different product last year - in spots at the shoulder blades and base of the tail. This was at about 6 in the evening. All was well for several hours. I took my big dogs out for their walk, gave them dinner and settled in for the evening, then my oldest dog, Daisy, began licking at the spot at the base of her tail. She began to gag and became very anxious, shaking and acting like she wanted to jump out of her skin.
She was also drooling and seemed to be a little bit off balance, but it was hard to tell what was symptoms of reaction to the chemical and what was just anxiety because she tends to be an anxious, shaky sort of dog anyway. She paced around the room and seemed like she didn’t want to put her feet on the floor.
What to do if your dog has a negative reaction to Cephenothrin
- Wash your dog thoroughly with warm water and dish soap (no bleach added).
- Keep your dog comfortable and keep a close eye on him/her.
- Make sure water is available and encourage your dog to drink.
- Do not induce vomiting.
- If no improvement within 30 minutes, take your dog to the vet.
What I did…
I called the number on the Sergeant’s package (1-800-781-4738) and it was answered right away by a woman who told me to wash all the product off of Daisy using dish soap (with no bleach added) and water and to take her to the vet if her symptoms worsened. She said that the amount Daisy would have gotten licking it off one spot like that was not enough to do damage, but it would taste terrible and cause a tingling, pins and needles sensation in the mouth and throat. The woman also gave me her name and a case number for future reference.
I washed Daisy off, made her comfortable, and looked up the chemical (Cyphenothrin) online.
This was the best information site I found regarding Cyphenothrin:
- Cyphenothrin - toxicity, ecological toxicity and regulatory information
Data on 6,500 pesticides, insecticides and herbicides including toxicity, water pollution, ecological toxicity, uses and regulatory status.
What I found out…
It seems that this pesticide has caused problems in a number of dogs, but in small amounts it is not fatal, and it doesn’t cause permanent damage except in large doses. The treatment recommended is to wash the affected area and to give water to dilute any that has been swallowed. Instructions said not to induce vomiting.
Other instructions I located explained that, if washing did not help, you should take your dog to an emergency clinic where a medication called Robaxin would be given to stop the shaking and then the dog would be given IV fluids to help with quick recovery.
When I talked with my own vet this morning, he said that, if Daisy did not seem fully recovered by afternoon, she should come in for some IV fluids. I told him that she had been drinking well (but not excessively) on her own and seemed to be fine now, and he said that she probably was alright in that case. And she does seem to be fine now!
What to watch for after using Cephenothrin
- Hair standing on end
- Unsteady gait
- Tenderness in paws
- Seizures (in severe cases)
What to watch for…
Daisy’s symptoms started at about midnight, worsened for an hour (she experienced some weakness in her legs) and then became less and less until about 6:30 in the morning when she got up and had some food and water. She seems to be fine now and we spent all of today normally, even going for a brisk walk this evening.
Follow instructions carefully…
My other dogs did not have any problems with the treatment, and I don’t think Daisy would have if I had applied it properly. I would say that washing the product off didn’t really help in this case because I don’t think it was the product on the skin that was causing a problem. It was the product Daisy had gotten in her mouth that caused the problem, and she just needed to drink lots of water and rest to get it out of her system.
So, I think in this case, it was my own fault that there was a problem. I should have read the instructions before applying the product! With this squeeze on flea deterrent, you are supposed to apply it on the back of the neck and the shoulders to halfway down the back so that the dog can’t lick it off. Information found online backs this up and says that in some cases where dogs had problems, it was because the product was not applied correctly.
USING O.T.C. FLEA PRODUCTS
Protecting Yourself & Your Dog
- Do your research first
- Ask your vet for advice
- Avoid products containing Cyphenothrin
- Keep your receipts
- Keep all packaging
- Read instructions completely
- Apply the product carefully
- Stay with and observe your dog after application
Avoiding problems with this product…
There are quite a few sites that tell about various people having problems with this Sergeant's Gold and Sergeant's Silver, even when they do apply it correctly. In fact, there are quite a few negative reviews of the product associated with the Amazon links I have included here.
It seems like many dogs are very sensitive to Cyphenothrin and it’s best just to steer clear of it entirely!