Letter: Flea and tick treatments harmful to aquatic systems

Published: 6/13/2021 8:00:51 AM

Dogs who have recently received flea and/or tick treatments and dogs wearing flea and tick collars present a danger to the waters in which they are allowed to swim. The chemicals can kill a wide variety of invertebrates essential to the ecosystem. According to the Veterinarian News Service, “Active ingredients in many topical flea treatments, including in popular brands such as Advantage and Frontline Plus … can kill tiny aquatic insects that are a crucial food source for fish and birds.” The loss of small insects and other invertebrate creatures will cause irreparable harm to New Hampshire’s aquatic systems. The loss of this important, but comparatively, invisible food base can occur without much notice until the destruction of the ecosystem has gone past the point of no return.

I suggest four important remedies. I call upon residents and visitors to New Hampshire’s lakes and rivers to keep recently-treated dogs and dogs with chemical collars out of freshwater systems. The veterinary industry must employ safer alternatives to the toxic chemicals now in use. Various media statewide must report on this phenomenon to increase public awareness of the ecological threat, and the New Hampshire legislative bodies must consider legal protections for our freshwater ecosystems. Healthy aquatic ecosystems are essential to tourism and the New Hampshire way of life.

Chris Finer



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