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Vets raise welfare concerns following US autism study

Worried dog owners are questioning traditional flea control treatments following preliminary research in the US, suggesting there may be a link between pyrethrin flea shampoos and autism.
Research, carried out by the University of California Davis Centre for Children’s Heath, found mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s syndrome, were twice as likely to have used flea treatments containing pyrethrin insecticides, than mothers of normally developing children.

Anxiety about the use of pesticides in the home is nothing new; a survey carried out in 2007, showed that 2 out of 3 pet owners were concerned about safety when using a pesticide-based flea spray in their homes.

However, the flea population is set to increase massively over July and August as conditions become warmer and more humid, and veterinary experts are worried about the potential welfare situation which could be caused by worried owners abandoning their flea control regime over fears about pesticide use.

“On-animal and household flea products have undergone extensive testing for safety and efficacy prior to licensing and we believe they are safe and highly effective when used correctly. An alternative pesticide-free household spray is available for concerned parents and dog owners.” comments Phil McGuire, Regulatory Affairs Manager at CEVA Animal Health, “Worried owners should first speak to their veterinary surgeon, before making any changes to their current flea control regime.”