Burton’s Blog 2/14 – Fleas and Ticks

fleas and ticks


People always seem to be more worried about fleas than ticks. That is misplaced emphasis. Ticks transmit disease and can cause long term chronic pain. Lyme Disease is one of the most serious diseases transferred by ticks. We will start our story from there. This is an update to a previous article I published a few years ago about fleas and ticks.

Fleas and Ticks 2017 – No Rest for the Wicked

Depending on the circumstances fleas and ticks can be present year round, so don’t become complacent just because the temperature drops. The ticks will overwinter in fermenting leaf litter. When it gets warm for a couple of days, they begin looking for a meal. Remember to comb out your dog when he is out where there are ticks. There is more to controlling Lyme disease control than just putting on a topical.

tick sizes

Over the years there have been all kinds of products produced to help prevent being bitten by ticks. There are two separate philosophies regarding tick and flea control. People don’t like chemicals so they decide to use the so-called “all natural” ingredients. This is foolish. The risk of their inefficacy is too high. There is no such thing as “moderate” success when repelling ticks. Even with humans there are no foolproof repellents. The other school of thought is to use topical and systemic toxins to kill the parasites. The problem is some of the products only kill fleas. Advantage, Advantus, Capstar, etc. Some 10 years ago Merial came out with Frontline. This worked against fleas and ticks. It helped more than Bayer’s Advantage because Advantage only killed fleas.

Prior to this the vets sold Program. That was a farce. It contained a well-known chemical called Ivermectin. Every flea in a house had to bite the pet to die, and people thought Program was all they needed to cure their infestation. Premise spray with permethrin was also needed but that wasn’t conveyed to the client. I personally like Ivermectin. It is a great dewormer — but with regards to ticks, the put must already have been bitten for the drug to take effect. If the pet’s been bitten, the damage has already likely been done. It does not protect against getting Lyme.

Now Bayer has introduced Advantus. This is another product that will only kill fleas. It is a systemic product that has an active ingredient called Imidocloprid — the same as Advantage. Fleas are a nuisance, but ticks are dangerous and potentially deadly. Lyme disease is everywhere now. It’s doubly dangerous because it’s hard to diagnose and the tick population seems to be exploding.

Many of the other products take up to 48 hours to kill ticks. Some, like Advantix, will kill both fleas and ticks but it still takes 24 to 48 hours to kill a tick. The nice thing about Advantix is that it uses permethrin (dogs only — the chemical is toxic to cats) which also acts to some degree as a repellent.

The new Seresto collar from Bayer seems to be quite effective, but I suggest using a bit of Frontline spray around the tail region of larger dogs. In big dogs the collar seems lose efficacy on the far end of the dog. Frontline seems to be going out of favor for some reason. Some say it isn’t as effective as it used to be. I have not noted any dropoff in quality. We use a product called Spectrasure (basically the same as Frontline Plus with an IGR – insect growth regulating hormone – that for the life of me I see no immediate use). If the flea or tick bites an animal protected with Spectasure, they’ll die and their eggs won’t be around anyway. The IGR is to keep the eggs of the fleas from hatching. It seems a little redundant, but IGRs have little to no toxicity at any concentration. It’s superfluous, but harmless. Spectrasure is cheaper and saves money, but many still want to pay the extra cash for Frontline because that is what they know.

In the late spring when the tiny ticks are out and about you can barely see them. Be diligent about combing your dog for fleas and make sure they have a quality topical that kills both fleas and ticks. Cats are harder to treat because permethrin is toxic to cats, but there are a couple of new products on the horizon that hopefully will be available soon. I will keep you informed as they are released and tested.

I hope this helps you make decisions about controlling fleas and ticks. Talk to one of our managers — they can be a great source of information — or call me at (412) 367-0962.


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Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Voluntary Recall

evanger's hunk of beef recall


Evanger’s has voluntarily recalled specific lots of its Hunk of Beef product due to potential contamination with the deadly drug, pentobarbital.

I just spoke to Evanger’s. To say the situation is a bit bazaar could be considered an understatement. Both the FDA and Michigan State labs are involved in the testing, but so far the results have not been put on official record. There have been no other reports of sick pets anywhere other than the one household. That specific lot of Hunk of Beef has been independently tested and found free from contaminant.

As a precaution, we will recall all Evanger’s Hunk of Beef, but it appears that the whole issue may be very isolated. We do not receive our Evanger’s from any of the distributors that would have received this lot of Hunk of Beef. Even now after two weeks of testing, we have not received the official test results for concentrations of pentobarbital nor do we have any idea if the drug was found in any unopened cans. Initial reports by independent labs found no contaminants. At this point I’m not especially concerned that any other dogs will be involved, but the exact cause has not been determined. So stay tuned. We haven’t heard the last of this situation.

Many of you are likely asking how pentobarbital could get into a can of food. At this point, I can only make assumptions, none of which are based on any concrete facts. Since we don’t know we need to react with caution. I’m shocked, quite honestly, but we have to react based on what we know. The original tests, undertaken by independent laboratories at the request of Evanger’s, returned nothing. Next we need to determine the origin of the cans. Were the cans tampered with? Had they already been opened prior to purchase? Also, it’s worth noting that cans of Hunk of Beef are hand-packed. I wouldn’t entirely rule out an individual act of malice. But again, I’m getting ahead of myself. We need to investigate every angle.

I will contact the lab that found the pentobarbital directly to determine their testing procedures and I will update this post when I know more. Our customers will definitely be kept apprised of the situation. I would also like to avoid immediate consumer hysteria — and I’ve said it before — but nothing has shown up in any other can of Hunk of Beef. I will also verify that none of the cans from the batch in question migrated east through our distributors. Food contaminations are difficult to trace, but eventually we’ll connect all the dots. I know the right questions to ask and I’ll keep on top of it.

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Burton’s Blog 1/24: Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Follow Up

blog banner - evanger's hunk of beef

Read my original post about the potential Evangers Hunk of Beef Recall contamination here.

Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Follow Up

This is a follow up to the incident where a person claimed that Evanger’s Hunk of Beef caused her caused dogs to become gravely ill. The results of the lab tests from two independent laboratories showed no toxic substances in the food. Since the person that decided to put the onus of responsibility on Evanger’s, I would suggest that she makes a public statement regarding the veterinarian she used to determine their culpability. At the very least, Evanger’s — who paid for her medical bills and the independent laborator testing — deserves the report. No other pets have gotten sick, even though that entire lot of food had been shipped to the west coast. From the very beginning of this report, the hyperbole appeared unwarranted.

This idea of publicly blaming and shaming companies without proof has become an unfortunate side effect of global and social media. It happens all too regularly nowadays, and people don’t want to know what really happened; they want spontaneous retribution even though they might be wrong. And even if it turns out that they were wrong, apologies are nonexistent. No one will own up to their mistakes. From the very beginning this person refused to provide access to the veterinarian or any medical reports. She claimed to have spent thousands of dollars on her veterinary bills, yet refused to disclose the lot number of the food or even where she bought it. Holly from Evanger’s, without so much as shred of evidence indicating her food had been the origin of the supposed toxin, voluntarily gifted this woman $6000 to help with veterinary expenses.

The Internet is a great tool, but it can be easily abused.  People abuse the truth. They rely on reactionary readers who believe what they want whether or not any actual evidence has been provided. Why do people take such great pleasure in destroying the reputation of a family-held company… or any company for that matter? It’s not as if they’re just harming the family that owns the company. They’re doing harm to the family and all of the people that rely on that company for jobs. We have sold Evanger’s for years. They sell an excellent line of canned foods that has never caused one reported problem in all of my years of dealing with them.

All that said, I hope the person that made these accusations finds the cause of her animals’ illness. Food-born toxicity remains a major problem in the pet food industry. However, by withholding evidence of her dogs’ veterinary reports or any specifics about the food she blames for their illness, she might have a hard time getting to the root of the problem. Blame without substantiation will only cause unnecessary and widespread panic and the spread of misinformation. None of which is necessary.