Researcher use of flea treatment in pets

Dr Rosemary Perkins

‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’
Sir David Attenborough

Rosemary Perkins is a remarkable veterinary surgeon studying the environmental fate and impact of fipronil and imidacloprid used in pet flea treatments.

In the UK, some 80% of the country’s 9.9 million dogs and 82% of its 10.9 million cats are treated for fleas, according to the 2019 PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report. VMD data indicates that around 27.5 metric tons of fipronil and 33.0 metric tons of imidacloprid (as found in Advocate that is widely used by veterinary practices as part of their pet health plans) have been sold as flea treatments in the UK since their usage was approved in 1994 and 1997, respectively. 

“If you had one teaspoon of one of these chemicals, that’s enough to kill one-and-a-quarter-billion honey bees,” according to Dave Goulson. “They’re kind of the equivalent of Novichock for insects,” he added.

Dr Perkin’s work is so important to make us realise the dangers of regular monthly blanket treatment of pets. This has to stop if we are to protect our insects and biodiversity as the UK acquires more and more pets since the pandemic lockdowns.

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