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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Flea Prevention In Cats

By Dr. Ed S

Flea control has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 15 years. From pills to topical formulations, the vast array can confuse even the savviest of pet owners.

In mid-1990’s, Program™ (Lufenuron) made its debut. This pill was the first medication of the new flea control programs. Program ™ was effective, but limited based on its method of action. Program ™ causes larvae to be unable to hatch. Adult fleas are not killed by this product. The adult fleas must naturally die before your pet receives relief from fleas. Sentinel ™ is a medication that contains both a heartworm prevention and Lufenuron. Neither Program ™ nor Sentinel ™ are effective at eliminating adult fleas to give your pet immediate relief.

More recently, Advantage™, Frontline™ and Revolution® have made their marks in the pet community. Which medication is right for your pet? Well, it depends on the outcomes that you desire.

Revolution is a topical medication that is absorbed into your pet’s body. It is formulated for both cats and dogs. It is effective in preventing heartworm disease, fleas, and ticks. There are a handful of other organisms that Revolution will treat/prevent, please discuss this with your veterinarian. The medication is extremely effective prevention for all of these parasites. It requires a veterinary prescription to be able to obtain and apply the medication. For this reason, it can be difficult to obtain from online sources. Many veterinarians require a periodic (usually annual) heartworm test before writing prescriptions or filling a request for Revolution.

Frontline Plus is another topical medication. It too is formulated for both cats and dogs. There are also varying weight ranges to properly treat your pet. Frontline Plus kills ticks and adult fleas on contact. It is effective on eggs and larvae. Frontline Plus is advertised to be waterproof. However, there is no claim that Frontline Plus is shampoo-proof. Some of the shampoos (especially OTC shampoos) are harsh enough to strip Frontline Plus from your pet. To help protect your pet fully, follow these suggestions. One, talk with your veterinarian about a shampoo that will not strip off Frontline Plus. Two, if you use a harsh shampoo, re-apply Frontline 24 hours after your bathe your pet. By waiting 24 hours, oil builds back up on your pet’s skin which is necessary for Frontline to effectively spread across your pet’s haircoat. Frontline Plus will kill up to 100% of fleas on your pet within 24 hours of application.

Advantage/Advantixx is yet another effective topical medication. Advantage is effective in controlling fleas. Advantixx is effective in controlling fleas and ticks. Advantage/Advantixx holds a claim to be water-resistant. Again, it does not hold any claim to be shampoo-resistant or proof. If you bathe your pet, wait until your pet is completely dry before re-applying the medication. There is no need to wait a full 24 hours before re-applying as there is for Frontline Plus. Advantage will kill up to 100% of fleas on your pet within 24 hours of application.

There are numerous other products on the market. They were not mentioned because the medications listed above are the best on the market at this time. Advantage, Frontline Plus, and Revolution will cost a bit more than other products, but they are worth the cost when your pet’s discomfort is relieved quickly and effectively.


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