To Flea or Not to Flea (part 2)

Program –
Program is a non-prescription medication for flea control. This medication is

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not an insecticide and does not cause the same chemical problems if you come in contact with it. This is a pro for parents who are concerned for the safety of their children. This product is different than many other flea medications because it disrupts the flea life cycle by destroying the reproductive organs of the adult fleas and eventually kills them. This is a good medication for people with pets who reside indoors only or live in an apartment where they have a limited flea population. Program is not a suitable mediation for an outdoor dog that can pick up new fleas. Program is administered in the form of a pill or liquid which is ingested monthly or a twice-yearly injection by a veterinarian. Since this medication can be bought without a prescription, you need to get an accurate weight for your pet to get a dose that is effective. With all over-the-counter medications, side effects are likely to occur, if this happens, stop use of the medication and consult your veterinarian immediately.

ProMeris –
ProMeris is a brand new drug which has been introduced and only been approved in the United States for cats. It is currently being researched for approval for dogs. This is a topical medication which is administered to the shoulder blades and directly on the skin. A company called Fort Dodge Animal Health distributes ProMeris and its active ingredient is called metaflumizone. This ingredient damages the nerves of fleas and leads to paralysis and eventually death of the flea. This drug is only available through a veterinarian and may not be suitable for your individual pet. Side effects include oily fur or clumping at the administration site. Other side effects include salivation if the site is licked, lethargy, depression, or shallow breathing. This is not recommended for cats less than 8 weeks old or for cats that are sick or have recently been sick. Ask your veterinarian for more information and to determine if this drug is right for your pet.

Revolution –
Revolution is another topical, on-the-skin monthly medication which kills adult fleas and stops flea eggs from hatching. You can bathe the pet up to two hours after administration. Revolution is only available from a veterinarian. Revolution is color coordinated based on weight. This product is great for dogs and is recommended for cats that get sick from the more oily products such as Frontline or Advantage. Revolution cannot be used on animals less than 6 weeks of age. A good part of using Revolution for flea control is that it also prevents heartworms. It has few side effects which are usually limited to vomiting. If you see any side effects, it is always best to stop the use of the product and consult your veterinarian.

Biospot –
Created by a company called Farnam, Biospot is cheaper than most of the other products because it is offered in 3 month quantities instead of 6 month quantities. Biospot is designed to target Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes and uses a growth insecticide which prevents flea eggs and flea larvae from growing into adults and a regular insecticide which kills adult fleas. One application lasts about 3 months for fleas but only one month for ticks and mosquitoes so monthly applications are necessary. This product is not recommended for puppies and kittens less than 12 weeks old. Veterinarians are wary to sell this product because of one of the key ingredients has problems with cats and also affects children. Some dogs and cats have had very negative side effects including seizures. The cat version of Biospot can also be used on ferrets (not that anyone in California has a ferret as a pet).

Sentinel –
Produced by Novartis, the same company which makes Program, is made only for dogs. This medication inhibits the young fleas from molting their outer shells to become adults. It also causes eggs not to hatch. This is given in a pill form once a month with a meal. Sentinel prevents several kinds of worms including heartworm and intestinal worms. With the pill taken orally, only your pet will be exposed to the chemicals, so it is safe for children to be around your pet. Sentinel is safe to use on puppies over 4 weeks of age and dogs over 2 pounds. It is also considered to be safe to use in pregnant and lactating animals. According to the Novartis website, side effects are rare when Sentinel is used correctly but should not be used on dogs with pre-existing heartworm infestations. Some rare side effects include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, scratching, drooling, staggering, weakness and seizures. As with any of these medications, if side effects are noticed, stop use of the medication immediately and consult a veterinarian.

Other products -
There are also products available such as Flea collars, flea bombs, flea powder, and flea shampoo. For my experience, flea collars tend to cause the fur around where the collar is to fall out. Flea baths and shampoo are good for people whose animals are infested and want to remove a bulk amount of fleas before using a monthly flea medication. Flea bombs and powder are used to kill fleas in rooms of homes and yards. These products are all available in pet stores and are best used in combination with a monthly flea medication for your animals to help prevent infestations.

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