Flea and Tick Preventative

How do you select the right flea and tick preventative for your pet?

By: Lori Leigh Ward

Let’s face it, there are so many choices when it comes to choosing flea and tick prevention for your pet that it can be overwhelming when trying to decide which product will best fit your lifestyle and your pet’s needs. Sounds easy until you have to decide on just one of them. So why are there so many choices when it comes to picking a preventative? There are products that are topical, oral, sprays, or collars. Certain products only do fleas, some do fleas and ticks, and others fleas, ticks, heartworms, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, and many more. Your choice depends on what fits your lifestyle and what best meets your pet’s needs.  Fleas and ticks can cause serious diseases and complications for your pet so it is critical to have them on a preventative to prevent this from occurring. This article will cover each product’s active ingredients, form, what each preventative treats or prevents, the pet’s weight and age limits, duration, and mechanism of action. Each preventative discussed in this article is currently sold and is available for purchase at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pharmacy. The preventatives that we sell are not the only ones on the market, but they are the only preventatives that are available in our pharmacy.  

 

Active Ingredient

 

Brand Name

 

Form

 

Prevents/

Treats

 

Species:

Age /

Weight

 

Duration

 

Mechanism of Action

Afoxolaner Nexgard Chewable-Tablet

Fleas

Ticks

Dogs:

> 8 wk

> 4 lb

30 d Prolongs neuron increased excitability causing death of susceptible insects and acarines.

Fipronil +

Cyphenothrin

Parastar

PLUS

Topical

Fleas

Ticks

Chewing Lice

Chigger

Sarcoptic mange

Cheyletiellosis

Otoacariosis

Dogs:

>12 wk

30 d Disrupts central nervous system activity by disrupting chloride ion passage in GABA chloride channels, in invertebrates that causes death in fleas and ticks.

Imidacloprid+

Flumethrin

Seresto Collar

Fleas

Ticks

Dog:

>7 wk (3)

Cat:

>10 wk (1)

8 mo

8 wk  Lone Star Tick

Central nervous system of insect is impaired by acting on their nicotinic acetylcholine receptors at the post synaptic membrane causing death (3).
Fluralaner Bravecto Chewable-Tablet

Flea

Tick

Dog:

>6 mo

>4.4 lb

12 wk Causes paralysis and death of parasite by inhibiting GABA and glutamate gated chloride channels of their neurons leading to uncontrolled neuron activity.

Imidacloprid

 

 

 

 

 

 

+Moxidectin

Advantage Multi Topical

Heartworms

Fleas-Adults

Hookworms

Roundworms

Whipworms-A

Sarcoptic Mange

Microfilaria

Heartworms

Fleas- A

Ear Mites

Hookworms

Roundworms-Adult

Dogs:

>7 wk

>3 lb

Cats:

>9 wk

>2 lb

30 d

Impairs central nervous system and causes death in insects by acting on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors at the postsynaptic membrane.

Affects chloride ion channels in the central nervous system of nematodes and arthropods which inhibits nerve cell’s electrical activity leading to death and paralysis.

Indoxacarb

 

 

+Permethrin at dogs

Activyl

TickPlus

Topical

Fleas

Fleas

Ticks

Cats:

>2 lb

Dogs:

>8 wk

>4 lb

30 d Impairs nerve function which prevents further feeding leading to paralysis and death of insects by causing increased polarization of the insect’s nerve cell membranes and blocking sodium neurons.

Lufenuron

Milbemycin

Praziquantel

Sentinel Spectrum

Chewable- Tablet

Heartworms

Fleas- Eggs

Tapeworms

A:

Hookworms

Roundworms

Whipworms

Dogs:

>6 wk

>2 lb

6 mo Inhibits the synthesis of chitin, polymerization, and flea deposition which prevents eggs from becoming adults. Believed to have an anti-fungal effect as well.
Nitenpyram Capstar Oral-Tablet

Flea- A

Fly larvae

Dogs:

>4 wk

>2 lb

Cats:

>4 wk

>2 lb

1-2 d Enters flea’s systemic circulation after consuming the animals blood by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors at the postsynaptic membrane and blocks the transmission leading to paralysis and death of the flea.
Selamectin Revolution Topical (3)

Heartworms

Fleas

Ticks

Ear mites

Sarcoptic mange (5)

Heartworms

Fleas

Ear mites

Hookworms

Roundworms(4)

Dogs:

>6 wk (5)

Cats:

> 8 wk (4)

30 d Enhances chloride permeability or by increasing release of GABA at the presynaptic neuron which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter causing the postsynaptic membrane to be blocked preventing adjacent neurons from being stimulated in nematodes and and arthropods which leads to paralysis and death (3).
Spinosad Comfortis

Oral-

Tablet

Fleas

Residually- 

     Ticks

Dogs:

>14 wk

Cats:

>14 wk

>2 lb

30 d Causes involuntary muscle contractions and tremors due to motor neuron activation in fleas for a long period of time leading to paralysis and death of the flea within 30 minutes by opening chloride channels (3).

Chart Key:                                                                                                                                           wk=             weeks                          mo=     months

d=        days                             lb=       pounds

Topical products consist of shampoo, powder, and spot on treatments. These primarily work by killing only adult fleas and should be combined with other treatment products to completely eliminate fleas. Caution should be used when using certain topical products on a cat or on dogs that live with cats.

The pill form of preventative usually works the best at fighting off parasites. However, some of these medications can require a prescription from your veterinarian. Some pills target either flea adults or eggs, but not usually both, so an additional preventative would also be required for complete parasite elimination.

Collars are also a viable option. Some collars work by preventing infestation, and others work by eliminating parasites and their eggs. If you choose a collar as a preventative, look for “kill” on the package label in order to kill the current infestation and to help prevent a new outbreak. This type of preventative can be combined with others (2).

The possible side effects to some, if not all of these drugs, should be discussed with your pet’s veterinarian since some of the side effects can be serious. Many of these preventatives should not be used in animals that are lactating, breeding, medicated, immobilized, etc. Also, some breeds do not tolerate certain medications as well as others so an alternative drug should be used (3).  Therefore, please ask your veterinarian to assist you when making these decisions because some preventatives can not be used in combination with other preventatives (2).

In conclusion, this article was written to provide information to help small animal owners pick a flea and tick preventative. The combined effort of the owner, pet, and veterinarian is necessary to provide the best possible care for your small animal friend. 

References:

  1. Compendium of Veterinary Products - Seresto® Cat (BAYER HEALTHCARE LLC). (2016). Retrieved June 05, 2016. https://bayer.naccvp.com/product/basic/view/1040079?e=LSdew7K4HnVeeL2EuzyjnfL5DhrACqQQ.
  2. Foil, Carol S., DVM, MS, ACDV. “Flea and Tick Control Products.” (2016, June). Retrieved June 05, 2016. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2858.
  3. Plumb's Veterinary Drugs. (2016). Retrieved June 05, 2016. https://www.plumbsveterinarydrugs.com/.
  4. http://revolution4cats.com/.
  5. http://www.revolution4dogs.com/.