Biospot class action lawsuit, toxic flea and tick spray

September 13th, 2010 - this article is free to republish with open public license

The flea and tick spray produced by Biospot was far stronger that needed to pacify your average fleas. Defendants claim that the substance was strong enough to overcome a full grown cat. The threat to safety of animals and their owners is what brought this incident to court, with the lawsuit coming underway

Sometimes a substance us used to treat the ticks which only effect insects. An example would be a compound that affected exoskeletons. In this case the pesticide produced by Biospot, it also has an affect upon the central nervous system of mammals. This includes humans and their pets, chemicals administered to the animal would be spread by contact throughout a living space.

The defendants hope to get the harmful products off the market, and protect consumers who are faced with a flea infestation. Occasionally products available to shoppers are as healthy as a Superfund chemical site.

The suit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, blames the problem on pyrethrins, organic compounds that kill fleas and ticks but that also have a long history of poisoning cats.

Pyrethrins kill fleas and ticks by interfering with their nervous systems, thus paralyzing and killing the parasites, the suit says. However, [pyrethrins] have the same effect on very significant numbers of pets, causing neurological problems which have and often will result in injury and/or death to the animal.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with oversight of products like Biospot, the suit says that the agency rarely conducts independent tests and instead depends largely on information provided by manufacturers when determining whether such products are safe.

Biospot, which can be purchased over-the-counter, is significantly cheaper than its prescription counterparts, such as Frontline.
Pet owners represent proposed class

Five named plaintiffs represent a putative class composed of anyone who bought flea products containing pyrethrins, manufactured by the defendants, provided that their claims fall within the applicable statute of limitations.

Sunny Johannson, a plaintiff from California, usually treated her cat Jack O’Punkin with Frontline and Revolution, neither of which ever caused any adverse effects. Earlier this month, Johannson used Biospot for the first and only time. The following morning, Jack bit [Johannson's] hand and collapsed into a seizure that lasted approximately a minute and a half.

Johannson immediately shampooed Jack in an attempt to remove as much Biospot as she could. Her vet’s assistant confirmed the likely cause [of the seizure] to be Biospot, having seen similar reactions in other animals. While Jack survived the incident, he continues to be lethargic and uninterested in food, according to the suit.

Plaintiff William Shelby, a Texas resident, wasn’t so lucky. On July 1, 2010, he applied Biospot to Waggles, his seven-year-old pit bull. Within days, Waggles’s hair began to fall out and she developed bumps on her back and sides. Shortly thereafter, her immune system shut down; her eyesight deteriorated; and she began suffering seizures.

By late July, Waggles had become totally blind, and was not eating because she could not swallow. [She] was running into walls, was disoriented and in great pain. Shelby had Waggles euthanized on July 29, less than a month after he had used Biospot.

The suit alleges that Biospot manufacturers Central Garden & Pet and Farnam Companies know, and have known for many years, that these chemicals will substantially injure and/or kill very significant numbers of dogs and cats.

As evidence, the suit notes that the manufacturers have reported to the EPA a sharp increase in adverse consequences from application of these products to companion animals. According to the complaint, [i]n 2008 alone, there were approximately 44,000 reports of adverse events resulting from squeeze-on products containing pyrethrins, a group that includes Biospot.
Problems not limited to Biospot

Consumers should always be careful when using spot-on treatments, a point hammered home by an EPA advisory issued in May 2009. According to the advisory, the majority of consumer complaints detailing adverse reactions from flea and tick treatments dealt with spot-on products.

Last August, ConsumerAffairs.com’s Lisa Wade McCormick detailed the nightmare that befell Diane S. , a pet owner from North Carolina, when she used Seargeant’s, another spot-on treatment. Her dogs immediately began to whine and jerk, and soon developed burns on their skin.

Diane’s vet, who examined the dogs the next day, said [the treatment] was pure poison and it’s a wonder it didn’t kill them.

The EPA advisory warns pet owners to carefully follow instructions when using flea and tick products, and advises them to consult a veterinarian before using the products on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products.

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Date September 13, 2010