All Pets Veterinary Clinic

FLEA CONTROL

If you’ve ever had a cat or dog, you’ve probably had fleas. And if you have ever had
fleas, then you know how hard it can be to get rid of them. Recent advances have made
the war on fleas a lot easier with the help of several new products. The remainder of
this article will look at the similarities and differences of the latest flea control
products-- Program, Advantage, Frontline, and Revolution.

Program. Program was the first of the new flea control products. It is an oral
medication that is given once a month. Program works differently from the other two
products in that it is a chitin inhibitor. It prevents fleas from having functional
chitin, a product/material that is critical for fleas to live. The medicine helps to
stop flea infestation in three ways. First, since flea eggs have chitin in them, it
prevents the flea from laying a healthy egg. Secondly, it prevents young fleas from
having a chitin egg tooth. Thus the flea cannot hatch out of the egg. Thirdly, it
prevents adult fleas from having a hard, healthy exoskeleton.

Because of the way it works, there are two obvious disadvantages to using Program.
First of all, this product will not kill the adult fleas that are already present on
your pet. Thus in an active infestation the adult fleas must die of old age. This can
mean that you may see adult fleas for up to 4-6 months after starting your pet on Program.
Secondly, for the medication to work, the adult flea must bite the cat/dog to get the
medication and thus lay unhealthy eggs. Thus, if your pet has a flea allergy, your pet
will still have a reaction because the fleas will still bite your pet.

A combined heartworm and flea control medication called Sentinel has Program in it
as the flea control product. Thus, the flea control portion of Sentinel has the same
disadvantages as discussed above.

Advantage. Advantage is a liquid medication that is put on the skin of your
pet once a month. Over 12-24 hours, the medication becomes absorbed over the entire
body of the cat or dog. It will then kill all stages of the flea cycle, except the
larval form. Adult fleas will die on contact--they do not need to bite the animal.
Advantage is water resistant, so it will still work if you pet gets an occasional bath,
goes for a swim, or gets wet in the rain.

Frontline Plus. Frontline, like Advantage, is a liquid medication that is put on the
skin of your pet once a month. This medication will also become absorbed in the skin
over the entire body. Frontline is also water resistant. Frontline, unlike Advantage,
will also repel ticks for up to a month. If your pet is outside a lot in the spring and
summer and tends to pick up a lot of ticks, Frontline would be a good choice.

Revolution. Revolution is the newest topical product available for cats and dogs.
It was introduced in the fall of 1999 by Pfizer. Revolution is an anti-parasitic drug
that is applied topically on the skin of the dog or cat each month. In cats, Revolution
will kill immature heartworms, adult fleas, flea eggs, ear mites, hookworms, and
roundworms. In dogs, Revolution will kill immature heartworms, adult fleas, flea eggs,
ticks, ear mites, and sarcoptic mange. Pfizer will most likely seek additional label
claims, thus in the future, Revolution will probably be labelled to kill additional
parasites.

Capstar. Capstar is the newest prescription flea control product. It was
introduced in 2000. It is an oral pill that will kill fleas within minutes. The biggest
downfall to Capstar is it's short length of action. Capstar will only work for 24 hours.
Thus, it is not a good choice in advanced flea infestations. Capstar is best used
in situations in which a new flea infestation is possible. For example, Capstar is
best if given after a dog without fleas is exposed for a short period of time to an
animal or environment with fleas.

After several years with no new flea products, three new products emerged onto the veterinary
market within a short time frame. They are:

Comfortis. This is a flea pill that lasts for one month.

Vectra. This is a monthly topical flea medication that lasts for one month.

Promeris. This is a monthly topical flea and tick medication that also kills
demodex, a type of mite.

Several of these flea medications can be purchased from our online store. See the link below.


The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not
intended to take the place of your regular veterinarian. Please do not hesitate
to contact your regular veterinarian if you have questions regarding your pet.






Karen Blakeley, DVM, MPH
27 September 2009