Today Carolyn asked the holistic vet about an allergic reaction to flea treatment in dogs: My 9-year-old English Setter is allergic to antibiotics and all flea and tick medications. She has a couple of fleas today that we saw. The last time she had a flea bath or flea medication, her body was shutting down and she almost died. What can we use that will be safe to kill the fleas and be sure she's not going to be allergic to? I'm so frightened I will lose her due to these bugs.
Dr. Will Falconer, Certified Veterinary Homeopath,Vital Animal | The Natural Path in Austin, TX responds:
The most pressing issue for your Setter is not what to do to repel or kill her fleas. It is rather, what can be done to cure her of her very dangerous allergic illness? How did she develop this allergic reaction to flea treatment? And how did she get this way in the first place?
If she's almost died from a flea bath, and she's allergic to antibiotics, she's on a dangerous tightrope, from which she could fall quite easily. It'd be pretty difficult to get out of a conventional veterinarian's clinic for most any illness without getting some antibiotics these days! Conventional pesticides are also harder and harder to avoid, on lawns, golf courses, etc.
So, let's get some cards laid out on the table, so you've at least got some direction to pull you back from the fearful ledge you find yourself on.
1. She should never, for the rest of her life
, receive a vaccination. For anything. Vaccinations have caused her immune system to be in a high alert, confused state, over-reacting to things most dogs would take in stride (not that I think taking a conventional pesticide in stride is necessarily a good thing, please understand). You should ask your veterinarian that she receive a waiver (read why here
). She's not well, and more vaccines will add to her already confused immune system.
2. You should become very educated on the risk/benefit ratio of vaccination in general, so you can relax when her "due date" comes around. You'll see several other pages around the one I linked to above that'll tell you she's likely immune for life and more vaccines will not add to that immunity at all. You can also read a blog post on "due dates"
and the fallacy of that idea.
3. Most importantly, you'll want to seek out a veterinary homeopath and seek a cure
to her allergic state. Listings can be found on myResources
4. Anything you try now should be tried on a tiny spot on her paw before you treat her whole body. Wondercide Flea & Tick Pets + Home
is non-toxic and from natural sources (cedar). And it both kills and repels fleas. But, is she allergic to it? That's what we need to sort out, and very carefully, so she doesn't fall from her tight rope of high allergy.
So, if you test some on one paw, and she's not having allergic symptoms like you've seen with drugs and conventional pesticides in the past, you should be fine to move on to treating a larger area. Knowing how reactive she is, though, I might consider making the jump only to half of her body, say, her hind quarters. Evaluate each step of treatment for a few hours. If she's not reacting in that amount of time, it's likely you've got a product you can use freely, and as needed.
But do keep us posted. Remember: just finding things she's not allergic to will at best be a short-term "solution," right? Highly allergic individuals tend to increase, not decrease, their list of allergic substances the older they get. Your ultimate goal is cure and avoidance of any re-occurring allergic reaction to flea treatment. And nothing conventional medicine offers comes even close to cure for this. Homeopathy, in the hands of a trained veterinary, can get her there.
To learn more about holistic vet care and homeopathic vet care, please visit http://VitalAnimal.com