British Veterinary Association responds to new research on the environmental impact of small animal parasite treatments   

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has responded to new research revealing the environmental impact of ‘spot on’ parasiticide treatments for small animals.  

The new briefing paper, ‘Are urban areas hotspots for pollution from pet parasiticides? by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, has found that chemicals in many small animal parasiticide products, such as those commonly used to treat fleas and mites, are present in waterways in urban areas, often in concentrations high enough to cause harm to the environment and ecosystem.  

BVA is calling for more research into the impact of parasiticides on the environment and is encouraging its members to use these medicines responsibly, avoiding blanket treatment.  

British Veterinary Association’s Senior Vice President Justine Shotton said: “Parasiticide treatments do an important job in preventing, treating and protecting both animals and humans from illnesses and conditions linked to parasites.  However, it is important to consider the impact these products may have on the environment. There are still many knowledge gaps surrounding parasiticide products, so this research – although shocking – by the Imperial College is welcome.  

“The British Veterinary Association is working to raise awareness of the issue within the veterinary sector and is developing resources to support vets in making risk-based decisions about when to treat. This is a true One-Health problem, with veterinary professionals needing to balance animal health, human health, and the health of the wider ecosystem. Pet owners should always speak to their vets, who will talk through different parasiticide options to find the best solution to prevent and treat parasites as needed for their pet.” 

In 2021, BVA launched a joint policy position with the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association BSAVA on parasiticides. For more details on the policy and supporting resources, visit ‘Responsible use of parasiticides for cats and dogs’