Netlore Archive: Forwarded email warns pet owners of possible hazards associated with using ProMeris flea and tick treatments based on the author's personal experience with adverse reactions.
Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: April 2008
Email example contributed by Zaydee H., April 14, 2008:
Fw: Dog & Cat People - PLEASE READ!!!!!!!!!!
This is Jo and this is a very important message to my family & friends who have dogs-cats--and to alert you to the hazard of using a new Flea & Tick Preventative called ProMeris http://www.promeris.com/consumer/.
This is a new product designed to be a more effective product than other flea/tick treatments that was just released this year. It is available thru a vet and not currently on-line. I got ProMeris this week for my 7 dogs (6 Huskies & 1 Golden-Airedale) , and the results were debilitating for nearly all of them-including me. Since my incident this week, my vet has pulled it from distribution and alerted the manufacturer, Fort Dodge.
Here are my results: Within less than 2 hours after applying, 4 of my dogs had vomited from 2-4 times, 3 were disoriented and stumbling, 1 was dragging his back leg, 1 was salivating. I had very similar symptoms like an allergic reaction-my lips were swollen, eyes very red, mucous membranes such as eyes, nose, and mouth were stinging. I was very disoriented- dizzy equilibrium and not able to drive. To make this a short story-all 7 of my dogs were admitted to the hospital for veterinarian care, and 3 of them remained for care, IV fluids and observation for 24 hours. I was in the emergency room. I'm home now and so are the dogs. We're all feeling much better. Vet bills were over $2,500 and Fort Dodge is paying for these. Not only can the product cause this reaction, it has a highly noxious odor that permeated the house and is just starting to dissipate after 3 days.
Your dogs/cats might not have the same reaction, but given my experience-I wanted to help you all become well-educated about the product.
Comments: The manufacturer of ProMeris, Fort Dodge Animal Health (a division of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals), has acknowledged in a statement that the case described above, involving multiple adverse reactions in seven dogs owned by the same person, was reported by the attending veterinarian on April 11, 2008. According to the statement the company's Professional Service Department is still gathering information on the case and will take appropriate action once all the details are known.
The statement also acknowledges "a high number of email forwards and Internet postings" (such as the one above) questioning the safety of ProMeris, all of which the company believes stem from this one case. That may well be true, but at least one other veterinarian, Dr. Paul Jaco of Kentucky, has also reported seeing "a fair share" of adverse side effects from use of the same product, including lethargy, nervous twitching, and hyper salivation. In an interview with WPSD-TV News in Paducah, Jaco said ProMeris isn't a product he currently recommends.
Proper use emphasized
As to the more extreme symptoms cited in the email, Fort Dodge responds that they are consistent with reactions observed in laboratory tests involving deliberate oral administration of the product (ProMeris is supposed to be administered topically). The statement emphasises that the product must be used as directed, citing other studies in which only few and minor adverse reactions were observed when ProMeris was administered properly. "As with any topical product, there may be some dogs that are uniquely sensitive to this product even after topical administration," the statement notes.
About.com's Veterinary Medicine expert Janet Crosby concurs. "Whether this particular incident happened or not," she writes, "it is important to mention here that any drug or treatment, taken orally or topically, prescription or over-the-counter, has the potential to cause an adverse reaction. The same is true even if the medication was administered previously without problem." Crosby therefore stresses the importance of being present, "at least for an hour or two, if possible," after giving any medication to your pet.
Sources and further reading:
Pet Health Questioned over Pet Product
WPSD-TV News, 15 April 2008
ProMeris Manufacturer's Statement
(PDF file) Fort Dodge Animal Health
ProMeris - Adverse Reactions or Urban Legend?
About.com: Veterinary Medicine, 23 April 2008
Last updated: 04/24/08