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Client Tries to Save a Few Bucks on Flea Control and Ends up Blowing a Grand

In these extraordinarily difficult financial times every effort to save money is understandable. But if these efforts aren't well thought out they can backfire. A...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Jul 24th 2009


In these extraordinarily difficult financial times every effort to save money is understandable. But if these efforts aren’t well thought out they can backfire.

A man with two Dachshunds (one brown, one black) recently ended up in my office. He had purchased Sergeant’s Gold flea and tick drops at the pet store, believing that the safety and efficacy of the product were similar to Advantage or Frontline.

Advantage and Frontline aren’t perfect, to be sure. But I have never seen either product cause problems like those that occurred in the two Dachshunds.

Shortly after the Sergeant’s was applied to the brown Doxie, the black dog licked the site of application. Soon after that, the black dog began to suffer seizures.

The black dog arrived at my office with a temperature of 108. That is not compatible with life. The staff began intensive treatment to save the dog.

As everyone was working on the black dog, the brown dog sat with the owner in the waiting room. And then the brown dog, too, developed symptoms of toxicity. He produced projectile vomit and profuse diarrhea. In less than a minute he was a dehydrated wreck whose life was in danger. He was rushed from the waiting room to the treatment area.

The following morning both dogs were shaken but alive, well, and out of danger. Their symptoms were reduced to memories.

However, their poor owner will be reminded of the memory when he receives his next bank statement. The massive medical interventions that saved his dogs did not come cheap.