Parasite Control – Natural vs Chemical

By Dr Mark Middleton


Occasionally we get asked about natural options for preventing tick and flea infestations on client’s pets, particularly dogs and cats. There are a number of protagonists of natural products, some of which are very vocal about the “down sides” of choosing a chemical product over a natural product. Articles written about the choice of natural over chemical can be misleading and contain a fudging of information whereby all chemical products are lumped together and assumed to cause the same potential side effects. For example: You cannot lump an aerosol-delivered Tetrachlorvinphos with a topical Fiprinol..

Thankfully, older chemical agents, such as the organophosphates that do have potential severe side effects, are been phased out.

New, safer products are being developed all the time; all are subjected to rigorous testing for efficacy and potential toxicity with strict rules applying to both the testing methods and the conditions under which these products may be used. Any claims have to be backed up by scientific testing using correct protocols.

Unfortunately the rules governing the production and selling of natural products are not as strict, as long as specific efficacy claims are not made. You will rarely, if ever, see an efficacy claim on these products.

Having said that, there are pet owners who would rather use these products, which is fine, as long as they know what the limitations of the products are and what risks associated with not having the same efficacy as a chemical product are. When you do your research, sift out the facts from emotional rhetoric, compare apples with apples and make sure that you are not exposing your pet to more risk by not using an effective product.

Below is some information on Biliary in dogs, carried by certain tick species, as well as conditions caused by fleas. You will see that the risks to any dog that contracts biliary are pretty severe and you would not want your pet to run the risk of getting this disease. Obviously if you live in a flat in the city and never go for walks, your pet’s risk profile is less than someone who walks their dogs in the bush and this can certainly be taken into account.

Our prime goal is to have products that:

  1. Have proven efficacy
  2. Have proven safety margins for the pet, it’s household mates and it’s owner
  3. Suit the owner’s pocket, lifestyle and needs.

Vetshop staff are trained in all the products and will happily discuss the various products with you to find the best option for your pet.