Adverse reactions to frontline spray

Written by jane wada
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Adverse reactions to frontline spray
(Oliver Sun Kim:

Fleas can be a nightmare for pets. This issue can become more problematic when pet owners use the wrong product for flea control or misuse the treatment. Frontline Spray is among the topical flea and tick treatments available, and like other medications, the product itself can cause adverse reactions.


In 2008, insecticides were on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's list of top ten pet poisons. In the same year, the centre received more than 31,000 calls related to insecticides. A common reason for many of these calls was the misuse of flea and tick products. In some instances, pet owners had applied a topical treatment that was intended for a different species.


Frontline Spray is a topical waterproof flea and tick treatment for cats and dogs eight weeks and older. Fipronil is the primary insecticide ingredient in Frontline Spray and is toxic in mammals when ingested orally or through the skin.


Adverse reactions to Frontline Spray have been rare. However, in order to avoid any reactions, pet owners need to use the correct dose that is determined by the animal's body weight and apply it only on their skin. Pets that are medicated, sick, old, pregnant or nursing should not be treated with Frontline Spray without consulting a vet first. In the event of overdose, contact the vet or a veterinary emergency room.

Adverse Reactions

Reactions that can occur immediately after an overdose include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, trembling, seizures and respiratory problems. If an animal exhibits any of these symptoms, immediately wash the product off and seek veterinary care. Longer-term reactions include kidney enlargement and failure, thyroid problems, seizures, higher foetus mortality, and in some cases, death.

Skin Reaction

Temporary skin irritation in areas where the treatment was applied is a common reaction to this treatment. The irritation causes redness of the skin and itchiness, causing pets to excessively scratch or groom themselves. Depending upon the pet's sensitivity, hair loss can also occur. There is a greater risk for irritation to occur in pets with broken skin.

Eye Irritation

If the treatment is exposed to the pet's eyes or mouth, it can cause mucous membrane and eye irritation. Dogs may excessively salivate if they lick the product off before it is dry.

Neurological Reaction

In some cases, pets have neurological reactions, but these are reversible. Signs of a neurological reaction include depression, hypersensitivity of the skin or increased nervousness.

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