Should you buy cheap or generic versions of Frontline Plus, a topical lotion for the prevention of fleas and ticks, for your cat or dog?
WHAT IS Frontline Plus?
For many pet owners Frontline Plus is the gold standard of the available medications for flea and tick control on dogs and cats. It is a spot-on product made by Merial. There are specific versions, dosages and formulations made for dogs and cats. Spot-on treatments are applied topically, to the animals’ skin, usually on the nape of the neck or between the shoulder blades; hence the name “spot-on”.
Sales of spot-on flea and tick control medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) versions, are big business. A Health Canada report in 2011 indicates that 3 million units are sold in Canada each year. In the US, sales projections for all pet medications are expected to grow by 38% and top $9.3 billion by the year 2015. In Canada, 35% of households have a dog, and slightly more, 38% have a cat. In the US, according to a study released in 2011, 46% of households own dogs as opposed to 38.0% who own cats.
In these recessionary times buyers of pet medications; topical flea and tick products in particular, are on the look-out for bargains. Who can blame them? Stores like Wal-Mart and Target have been quick to enter the pet meds market with over-the-counter versions of Frontline Plus. Sales of generic versions of Frontline Plus are also proliferating on the internet. More worrying is the fact that counterfeit versions of Frontline Plus are readily available to the unsuspecting buyer.
WHY ARE COUNTERFEIT FLEA/TICK MEDICATIONS WORRYING?
In the US, 73% of dog and cat owners use flea and tick control medications for their pets. Of that number, 80% t0 86%, use spot-on formulas.
- Generic and counterfeit medications may or may not contain the same levels of pesticide as EPA and Health Canada regulated products, such as Frontline Plus.
- Labels may use misleading information, and/or the leaflet detailing safety precautions for both pets and owners may be missing.
- There have been cases where dosages intended for dogs has been packaged and sold for use on cats.
- Deliberately counterfeit versions of your pets’ flea and tick control may contain substitute formulations that do not comply with proven safety regulations and supervision by regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the Health Canada equivalent.
Generic versions may be quite safe for your pet. On the other hand, counterfeit products are, by definition, meant to deceive. Designed for a quick profit, they may be sloppily and carelessly made, posing a very real health risk to your pet. Owners need to check all labelling carefully to ensure that they are buying a quality product. Whether you choose Frontline Plus or the generic equivalent, keep in mind that these products contain potentially harmful pesticides. Use with caution.