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Pet Talk - Pet Health

How the Monthly Flea Spotons took on Other Parasites
by Dr. Fran Good, DVM


August 25, 2003
Monday - 12:30 am

So Bayer came out with their product, Advantage®, which seemed to be the answer to all our prayers. It's monthly, easy to apply, noon-toxic to our patients, and best of all it worked. Against fleas.


Ben Fur
Photo by M.C. Kauffman

But fleas aren't the only parasites to infest our wonderful four-legged companions. Frontline© by Merial does all of what Advantage® does, and kills ticks as well. For folks who live in areas where Lyme disease is rampant, as well as those areas that have less common tick-borne diseases like Erlichiosis and Babesiosis, this was definitely a selling point.

Then I thought that Pfizer had come up with the end-all-and-be-all of the topical spot-on once-a-month products, when they came out with Revolution©. Their advertising says they take care of fleas and ticks on the skin, as well as ear mites, and Sarcoptic mange mites in dogs. Anyone who has wrestled with their cat to apply ear mite goo in its ears, thought that was pretty stupendous. But that wasn't all. The active ingredient, Selectin,, also enters the bloodstream and protects dogs against heartworm and cats against intestinal parasites like roundworm and hookworm in cats.

But once again, it's not quite foolproof.

On closer inspection, while Revolution® kills the American Dog Tick, Dermacentor Variabilis, the American Dog Tick hasn't conclusively been shown to carry Lyme disease. But the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick(Ixodes scapularis), the main carrier of the spirochete (Boreelia burgdorifi) that causes Lyme disease doesn't fall victim to Selamectin. So if you think you're protecting Cosmo from Lyme disease, with the otherwise quite miraculous Revolution®, you need to think a little harder.

So there's still room for improvement from other products, but not a whole lot.

I know there are other once a month products out there that I probably haven't covered. You just need to read the label carefully, and pick the product that best fits your pet's risk potential. Some are sold only by veterinarians, some are over-the-counter. It used to be that the OTC ones didn't work as well as the ones sold in vet clinics, but that's no longer true. I've tried to cover the main ingredients that you'll find out there, but you may just have to try for yourself, and find the one that works the best for you.

Or there are still all the tried-and-true sprays and dips still out there.

Next: Taking care of the house

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& questions to Dr. Good



©2002 Dr Fran's Pet Health


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