Inside the Department of Comparative Biosciences

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Inside the Department of Comparative Biosciences

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  • Adjunct Departmental Faculty at Animal Poison Control Center Conduct Study of "Natural" Flea Products

    Safdar KhanAdjunct Comparative Biosciences faculty member Dr. Safdar Khan (left above) of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana was senior author on a retrospective study in the August, 2012 issue of Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (Vol 22(4): 470-475) entitled, "Adverse reactions from essential oil-containing natural flea products exempted from Environmental Protection Agency regulations in dogs and cats." An abstract of the scientific article can be found at:

    and a news article quoting another departmental adjunct faculty member Dr. Tina Wismer (left below) highlights this APCC study. 

    Tina WismerThe University of Illinois Pet Columns article can be found at:

    Quoting from the Pet Columns article by Sarah Netherton, "The study, conducted by veterinarians at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, examined natural flea products, whose active ingredients were essential oils extracted from plants and thus were exempt from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Records from the poison center relating to 39 cats and 9 dogs that had been exposed to natural flea preventatives were evaluated for this study. Even when the natural flea products were used as directed on the packaging, 92% of the animals in the study were found to have at least one adverse effect after being exposed. The effects of the plant-derived oil observed in both cats and dogs included agitation, hypersalivation, lethargy, vomiting, panting, weakness, and seizures. Cats were more likely to exhibit adverse side effects."