Exelpet Fleaban: Flea spray for cats is toxic to cats | Coles, Woolworths under fire

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Angry pet owners have called on Coles and Woolworths to stop selling toxic flea spray after a cat has had a severe reaction.

Angry pet owners have called on Coles and Woolworths to stop stocking a brand of flea spray that is potentially deadly for cats.

Exelpet Fleaban, a flea spray for cats and dogs, contains pyrethrins, an insecticidal substance produced from the flower of Chrysanthemum cineraiaefolium which is toxic to cats in high concentrations.

Chris Chambel says his 10-month-old cat, Sasha, began to “lather in the mouth” just seconds after applying Exelpet. He only found out from his vet later that pyrethrins can be very toxic to cats in high doses.

“It was almost immediate,” he said. “We noticed the drool at first, but then it turned into too much foam. He was restless, shaking, refusing to eat or drink for 30 hours. “

The 21-year-old from Redcliffe in Queensland was angry because there was no warning on the bottle. “It’s usually only bad for cats in excessive amounts, but the bottle doesn’t say how much you’re supposed to put on,” he said.

“The vet didn’t seem too surprised, he said it wasn’t that rare. If he had started having seizures, as some cats do, it could have caused brain damage. He said the best thing to do was bathe him and try to get away with it as much as possible.

According to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, there are nearly 200 products containing pyrethrins registered for use in Australia, of which around 50 are registered for use on cats.

Flea treatment products approved for use in dogs generally contain high concentrations of permethrin at 400-650 g / L, and therefore are considered highly toxic to cats. Exelpet Fleaban contains 1.8 g / L of pyrethrins.

“Products containing pyrethrin formulated as sprays or powders contain a much lower concentration of active ingredient (1.8 g / L for spray products and between 1.0 and 2.5 g / kg for powdered products), which means the potential for exposure to toxic amounts of pyrethrins. is very low ”, the APVMA said on his site.

But the customers reported similar side effects on the ProductReview site as early as 2012 and are angry at the lack of warnings.

“Why the hell [haven’t] did the health authorities realize this? Wrote one user in January. “There are some precious pets and some much loved pets that could die because of this stuff. “

A Change.org petition launched by Mr. Chambel calling on Coles to recall the product attracted over 2,600 supporters.

“I bought this product from my local Coles,” he wrote. “I trusted Coles and assumed the products stored there would be safe. They must stop storing this poison before other pets suffer!

Mr Chambel’s petition incorrectly identified the active ingredient in Exepet sprays, pyrethrins, as “pyrethroids,” a similar but synthetic compound also used in flea treatments.

An Exelpet spokesperson said in a statement that its FleabanTM insecticidal spray “remains an effective treatment against fleas in cats and dogs.”

“Our first priority is always the health of pets and we thoroughly investigate any reported issues that may arise with our products,” said the spokesperson.

“As with all medications and treatments, it is important to follow the directions on the label.

and use with care. Just like humans, some animals may be more sensitive to certain ingredients and may show mild to moderate symptoms after use, called side effects. If these symptoms are of concern, we advise people to seek veterinary care immediately. “

The statement said Exelpet products have been “extensively tested before they are placed on the market” to ensure compliance with national standards, and that pyrethrin has been used “as a safe and effective insecticide for over 100 years”.

A spokeswoman for Exelpet’s parent company, Mars Petcare Australia, told news.com.au that there was a risk of “adverse events” such as seizures only in very rare cases.

“It’s just like human medicine, you have to weigh the risk versus the benefits,” the spokesperson said.

When asked why there was no warning of potential side effects on the bottle, she said the product information sheet with warning information was “all available on the internet”.

“There is absolutely no way for Mars to store a product harmful to pets,” she said.

Coles and Woolworths, which also stocks the product, both declined to comment.

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