Lawsuit Targets Safety of Sergeant’s Flea Treatment

flea dirtA nationwide class-action lawsuit has been filed over the safety of Sergeant’s Silver Flea and Tick Squeeze-On for Dogs, a “spot-on” flea-and-tick treatment. Spot-on products are applied externally to a dog or cat’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades.

The lawsuit alleges that the product was not properly tested before being put on the market. Court papers were filed last month in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa, by two women whose dogs suffered seizures after playing together.

According to the lawsuit, Gladys Bruett followed labeling instructions when she applied Sergeant’s Silver Squeeze to her 3-year-old Poodle, Willi, in May 2009. About a half hour later, Bruett brought Willi to the home of her daughter, Becky Dodge, to play with Dodge’s 9-month-old Yorkshire Terrier, Daisy.

Fifteen minutes later, Daisy, who had been jumping on Willi, started shaking and losing control of her bowels.

Both dogs suffered seizures. They were rushed to a veterinarian and bathed repeatedly. Willi was eventually sent home, but Daisy, who only weighted 2.2 pounds, “was unable to stand, had increased respiration, increased heart rate, neurological quivers and vomiting,” according to court papers. She died a few hours later.

The lawsuit is asking for refunds or replacements for consumers who purchased Sergeant’s Silver Flea and Tick Squeeze-On for Dogs, and reimbursement for vet bills, hospitalization costs and burials.

“When a company has a bad product, it would be really nice if they would fess up to it and take care of it right away,” Dodge told the Des Moines Register.

A spokeswoman for Sergeant’s Pet Care Products declined the Des Moines Register’s request for a comment on the lawsuit.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) changed its regulations last year, requiring clearer labeling of spot-on flea and tick pesticides, including detailed dosage instructions based on the dog’s weight. The changes were prompted by the deaths of more than 1,600 pets due to spot-on treatments during a five-year span.

For information about non-toxic ways to treat fleas and ticks, see HOW TO Prevent Flea and Ticks Naturally.

PHOTO: Sarah Jones

Laura Goldman

Laura Goldman is senior social media writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. She does love dogs. And elephants and turtles. Along with writing about the loves of her life, Laura likes to play with her two pound pups and tell anyone who'll listen just how awesome Pit Bulls are.

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