Which flea medication do you recommend, if any? I have been using Advantix for my 9 lb mini poodle. Seems to work as we never had fleas. Read about neurological problems associated with this product. Do you have a preference?
I personally don't use any spot-on flea products. I have been using Ovitrol and Ovitrol plus for over 25 years and have never had a flea problem. They are both sprays that I rarely need to use. Ovitrol is an IGR, or insect growth regulator and it disrupts the life cycle of the flea from egg to cocoon. Nothing will kill cocoons but the Ovitrol also kills adults. My dog and both cats take Sentinel every month for further protection. That is the main reason they are flea-free. Lufeneron, the ingredient in Sentinel that addresses fleas, is a flea "sterilizer" if you will.
Advantix and Frontline are both nerve-type agents.They affect the nervous systems of insects, not dogs.The main ingredient in Advatix is imidacloprid, which is a nicotine-derivative. The acute toxicity potential in humans is moderate. When used in low doses such as flea control products, the toxicity potential is pretty low. Fiprinil, has a greater potential for toxicity because it is a nerve conduction agent. Here are some descriptors from http://www.petshealth.com/dr_library/insectic.html:
"Insecticides-Current Uses in Pets
Fleas, ticks and mites are the major parasites that affect the skin and hair coat of dogs and cats. Radical changes have occurred in the veterinary usage of insecticides in the last 10 years. Prior to that time, regardless of the pest, in most cases, veterinarians were advocating an attack on the outdoor and indoor environment, as well as all of the pets in the household for fleas, ticks and most mite infestations other than demodex.
However, in the past decade, many new insecticides have been developed. First, we were introduced to the idea of growth hormone regulators (IGR's) interfering with insects' development; initially methoprene (Siphotrol?- VetKem) was offered as one of the first insect directed products which was non-toxic to mammals,. Although it had disadvantages such as ultraviolet light instability, and translocation properties, most small animal veterinarians found it very useful to use in the indoor environment, and later on the pet. Then after many years of hearing about lufenuron (Program?- Novartis)) marketed in many other countries, we finally found this systemic chitin inhibitor available in the United States. This drug proved to be very useful in certain settings, but as with all things for which one waits with anticipation, the drug is not a panacea for all situations, but rather an effective tool for flea control. Amitraz?-Virbac collars arrived on the scene to help us with tick control.
More recently we have had the fortune to have two new on-animal topical insecticides marketed for small animal veterinary usage: Merial's fipronil in the form of TopSpot? and Frontline Spray?, and Bayer's imidacloprid as Advantage?. These insecticides have totally changed our view to treatment and management of flea control. Fipronil is also effective against ticks, and appears to have some miticidal activity (although it is not labeled for this). Most recently Pfizer has entered the market with selemectin, sold under the trade name of Revolution?. This drug has the widest range of label usage for various parasites.
In addition, to the aforementioned drugs, we have seen wider spread use of OTC pour-on permethrins replace the use of pour-on organophosphates. A very stable broader spectrum and more stable insect growth regulator, pyriproxifen, Nylar? is widely available for use in environments both outdoor and indoor. It is available in collars, foggers,, and on-animal sprays. Sodium polyborate application for the indoor environment became popular for its long-term residual activity. Finally, biological control of fleas with nematodes has been found useful in certain settings. Additionally, as we have learned more about the biology of the flea, the use of mechanical devices such as vacuuming has become more important for management. Environmental cleaning outdoors can also be useful in techniques for controlling ticks and harvest mite infestations.
LESS FREQUENTLY USED INSECTICIDES TODAY
Rotenone and d-limonene are botanical compounds which are used infrequently today for long term usage as insecticides.
These compounds are highly toxic, stored in body fat, and have long residual accumulation in the environment. For this reason, they are no longer labeled for use on pets and rarely used by licensed pest control operators.
These compounds are still widely available over the counter (OTC) for the treatment of the yard and garden. The toxicity of organophosphates is variable depending on the type with toxic signs being either muscarinic or nicotinic. These products inhibit cholinesterase. Few veterinarians today in North America would use these products in pets, although for many years, cythioate and fenthion were used for pets. Diazinon, malathion, and phosmet are available in a variety of products. In most circumstances in which organophosphates are being used, they are being applied outdoors or indoors by licensed pest control operators for broader insect control which may include ticks.
Available as methylcarbamate insecticides, carbaryl and propoxur have similar activity but less toxicity than organophosphates. They also are less commonly used today, primarily because of their earlier over usage and current lack of efficacy in some situations.
MORE COMMON INSECTICIDE PRODUCTS USED TODAY
Initially this group of insecticides was derived from plants. However synthetic pyrethroids based on the esters that make up natural pyrethrums are now included in this group. Pyrethrins are still widely used. They are viscous, nonpolar liquids, insoluble in water, and easily decomposed by ultraviolet light. They have poor residual activity but provide excellent rapid kill of many insects. They have low mammalian toxicity and are usually combined with piperonyl butoxide as a synergist which helps to prevent the pyrethrin break-down by flea microsomal enzymes.
Pyrethroids are synthesized chemicals modeled on the natural pyrethrin molecule, but these are more stable and more potent. They are also combined with synergists. A third generation pyrethroid, permethrin, is very popular for both its rapid insect kill and its repellant activity in the dog and horse with insect hypersensitivity.
For dogs with multiple exposure to flea environments or concerns about frequent bathing with degreasing shampoos or frequent swimming, spray adulticides containing a combination of permethrin and pyriproxifen are commonly used, especially because of the reported repellency effect of permethrin and its benefit to the flea allergic dog. Permethrin concentration levels can be very toxic to cats at 2% so care should be taken to only use permethrin products labeled for cat usage, if used at all.
Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)and Insect Development Inhibitors (IDI's):
These are available for systemic use as oral once monthly flea growth inhibitors, as impregnated collars, as sprays for on -pet use and as foggers and sprays for the environment. Because these products target systems unique to insects, they are essentially nontoxic to mammals and thus highly desirable for safety. One of the advantages of indoor treatments using IGRs is their residual activity. They are frequently used in conjunction with an insect adulticide for more immediate killing effect.
The oral product lufenuron (Program?- Novartis) given once monthly affects both flea egg hatch and flea larvae development. Resistance has not yet been reported in the literature with lufenuron but there are pitfalls we have all been made aware of through its usage. It is only effective in an environment which is closed to stray animals and wild animals acting as transporters for fleas. A wide variety of nondomesticated hosts have been reported to harbor C.felis, including coyote, foxes, bobcats, skunk, raccoon, opossum, and several rodent species. Lufenuron must be given with a meal and administered to all the animals in the household on a regular basis. If the lufenuron-treated pet leaves the premises and travels regularly to infested areas, lufenuron will not be effective in flea allergic animals in that household. However, in a closed environment with flea allergic pet(s), lufenuron can be highly effective after the first few months of administration. Each situation must be treated individually.
Methoprene is a terpenoid compound which mimics a juvenile insect hormone and is not easily removed by water. It is still an extremely effective IGR as long as the user has respect for its limitations. It is unstable to ultraviolet light and thus cannot be used outside or on animals with significant sunlight exposure. It has the ability to translocate or be moved easily from one area to another. It is very effective in the household and maintains a long residual effect on cats housed indoors and treated either with spray or collars.
Pyriproxifen (Nylar?) is an IGR whose action is similar to that of methoprene but its potency is increased. At low concentrations it has both strong ovicidal and larvicidal properties. According to Dryden, pyriproxifen appears to have some delayed flea adulticidal effects as well. It may be eventually available as a systemic like lufenuron. Currently it is readily available as a spray, in impregnated collars, and in some states in OTC foggers and environmental and on- animal sprays.In the highest application of pyriproxifen to soil, 75% flea control was realized for 11 months. It does have IGR activity against other crop insects.
Even with the use of the IGR's, frequent vacuuming of the pet's bedding area is useful. Maintenance of a clean outdoor environment without a lot of brush, shaded leaf-filled areas and high moisture, organic areas also is among the long-term recommendations for optimal flea control management, and is especially advantageous prior to the use of IGR's.
New Insect Adulticides:
Fipronil is a phenylpyrazole compound which blocks transmission of signals by the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Fipronil binds within the chloride channel and consequently inhibits the flux of chloride ions into the nerve cell resulting in nervous system hyperexcitation. Fipronil has a greater specificity for the GABA receptors found in insects than mammals. This topical compound (Frontline ?or TopSpot?-Merial) is highly effective for fleas and ticks as an adulticides with death of the flea occurring within 24 hours of exposure. Fipronil is used worldwide in agriculture. It is poorly soluble in water, delivered in very small amounts and does not leach into the groundwater. Sunlight, immersion in water, and bathing do not significantly impact the performance of this product under most circumstances.
Pharmocovigilance survey results demonstrated excellent safety. It is safe for use on puppies and kittens and not teratogenic or mutagenic. It has also been used successfully to treat some mite infestations.
Imadacloprid is a synthesized compound (Advantage?-Bayer) which was developed in the mid- 80's and is a chlorinated derivative of nicotine that is stable long enough to kill target insects but not long enough to accumulate in the environment. This compound has also found widespread application in agriculture as a systemic in the root system, soil, or seeds of plants. As a spot-on product, it has met with great success in the USA and kills adult fleas with 98-100% efficacy in 24 hrs. It has also been demonstrated to have a favorable toxicology profile with low oral, dermal and inhalation toxicity to mammals. Like fipronil, it is non- teratogenic and non-mutagenic in mammals.
Both fipronil and imidacloprid appear to be safe in their mechanism of action and in short-term toxicity studies. They are regulated by the EPA instead of the FDA and the guidelines for each are slightly different. Insecticides in general are overseen by the EPA. Lufenuron was FDA registered because it was given orally and absorbed systemically." end
The difference between Frontline and Advantix is that Frontline doesn't claim to control ticks an mosquitoes and Advantix does. IF it is working for you, then stick with what works.