Great Debate: Should we end preventive flea and worming treatments, given the environmental cost?

flea treatments damage rivers

In the light of a recent study on the impact of flea treatments on English rivers, should we reconsider the use of regular, preventive flea treatments?

A recent study revealed that veterinary flea products used on cats and dogs are causing a widespread pesticide contamination of English rivers, with concerning effects on aquatic insects as well as the birds and fish that feed on them.

The study reads, “Sites immediately downstream of wastewater treatment works had the highest levels of fipronil and imidacloprid, supporting the hypothesis that potentially significant quantities of pesticides from veterinary flea products may be entering waterways via household drains.

“These findings suggest the need for a reevaluation of the environmental risks associated with the use of companion animal parasiticide products, and the risk assessments that these products undergo prior to regulatory approval.”

Millions of dogs and cats receive regular flea treatment, as the prevalent advice is to prevent flea infestations by treating one’s pet regularly – usually monthly.

While some owners are willing to drastically cut down their use of flea treatments, especially in the winter months, others worry that it may negatively affect the welfare of pets across Britain, as our warm homes give fleas and other parasites a chance to thrive even in winter.

What do you think – should pet owners stop preventive flea treatments?

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