Pet Owners Have You Ever Used Certifect To Treat for Fleas And Ticks?
January 16, 2014 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone used Certifect (a relatively new drug put out by Merial (the makers of Frontline) to treat for fleas and ticks? What is your personal experience with it? Was it effective? Did your pets have any negative reactions?

I put Certifect on my 100 lb Pyreness last night and this morning he was very lethargic. I didn't think too much of it but the lethargy got worse over the course of the day. The dog began to look as if he had been drugged. Something clicked in my brain and I got out the Certifect box and looked at side effects. There were two listed, itching and lethargy that, if they lasted more than 24 hours should be treated by an emergency vet. Concerned, I Googled (I know, not always the most reliable or factual info gained in that way) Certifect adverse reactions and got a nervewracking and bewildering array of product reviews, personal stories in pet site threads and even some medical studies citing horrible adverse effects from the use of this product (links are only meant as a sampling, on the Kansas state site scroll down to page two for Certifect article). I called my vet who reccomended I wash the product off the dog and discontinue use, which I did. The vet was dismissive however of the negative reviews and personal stories saying that every product has some adverse reactions and a few hysterical people who review it negatively. The vet said I should not pay any attention.

I feel like there is more going on here than just a few hysterical people organizing a smear campaign, but who knows? Maybe that's all it is. Still, I'm concerned about the long term effects this may have on my dog.

Has anyone on MeFi had any experience (bad or good) with this treatment?
posted by WalkerWestridge to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
I haven't had any personal experience, but you can always call a few other vets to get second (and third) opinions. Don't say that you called another vet who was dismissive, and maybe even leave out what you've read online, but state your concerns as they relate to the warning on the box. After all, the box seems to state you should take prolonged lethargy as a serious warning, warranting a visit to an emergency vet.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 PM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

We used it on our little 12 pound fluffball and it was very effective, and no side effects either.
posted by azpenguin at 9:20 PM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

You want REVOLUTION after this med clears your pet's system/wait at least a month for your pet to recover.

According to tables and studies I found on the web a while back but google won't easily call up today, the pesticide in REVOLUTION was effective but less toxic than other commercial preparations.
posted by jbenben at 1:44 AM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I won a free year of Certifect from my vet. I did not notice any behavioral changes, but I had applied it two or three months when I noticed/realized that my pug had lost her fur and had a burn-like sore at the application site. (She has very thick fur so the surrounding fur crowds the area and hides it at first glance.) More than a year later, her fur still does not fully grow in there. I do not use Certifect anymore.
posted by greenstarfish at 5:21 AM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a Great Pyr and know they have a very slow metabolism. The dosage guidelines for some medications often do not follow a Pyr's weight, so an overdoes of Amitraz could have happened (the 'new' addition in Certifect compared to Frontline Plus). If that was the case, PetMD says "there are usually no long-term adverse effects after the condition has been successfully treated."

Side note: My Pyr was on Revolution when I adopted him two years ago and my vet recommended that I change him to Frontline Plus (I'm not sure of the reason why since they sell both Revolution and Frontline Plus).
posted by bCat at 6:47 AM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have no direct experience with Certifect, but I did recently get a new issue of the Whole Dog Journal and there was an article about flea medicines for dogs, including a recommended med list and what to do if your dog has an adverse reaction. The list of recommended medications is only available online to subscribers, but from my paper copy I can tell you that Certifect is on their list of safer medications. It says the active ingredients in Certifect are amitraz, fipronil, and (s)-methoprene, so you'll probably want to avoid other flea medications with the same active ingredients. The warnings do say that it's not for use on dogs who are diabetic or have heart problems, and that it's risky for dogs taking other medications, are debilitated, aged, or obese. Amitraz in particular "can be dangerous when combined with antidepressants, Anipryl, and DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA)."

I also learned from this article that you should always report adverse reactions to the manufacturer and regulators (the EPA for Certifect, because it's an insecticide). (I'm assuming here that you live in the US, I don't know how it works in other countries.) You can call the manufacturer at the toll-free number on the package and say you want to report an adverse reaction. The manufacturer will have a vet from the company call you to get information, file an internal report, and report the event to the EPA. According to the article, in addition to the manufacturer, an adverse reaction report should also be filed directly with the EPA or your state pesticide agency. They say that it's best if a vet files the adverse reaction report, because reports from vets are given more weight by agencies than reports from owners. If your vet won't do it, you can do it yourself, by following the links at the National Pesticide Information Center to find the link to your state agency. These reports can collectively help regulators determine whether drugs should stay on the market.
posted by lab.beetle at 8:43 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I forgot to add that if I were in your situation, I would get a new vet. First of all, your vet should know that adverse reactions should be documented and reported - this part of his/her professional responsibility! Second, a vet who dismisses your concerns and says don't worry about a drug apparently making your dog sick is an ass and not someone I'd want to work with in the future.
posted by lab.beetle at 8:49 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

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