Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

New and Shiny Things

by User Not Found | Jun 06, 2014

And the medical advances keep coming!

The FDA has just approved a new chewable tablet for the control of fleas and ticks in dogs called BRAVECTO.  Here’s what the report says:

It is the first oral flea and tick medication that lasts up to 12 weeks.  It treats and prevents fleas for 12 weeks, treats and controls three types of ticks, the brown dog tick, American dog tick and deer tick for 12 weeks and treats and controls the lone star tick for 8 weeks.  This drug was simultaneously approved by the VDD in Canada (the Veterinary Drugs Directorate) and the FDA

How exciting right?  Now I only have to give my dog a drug once every 4 months and it’s a delicious chewable, so no worries about swimming or that weird slick down their back after application.  Other great news is that it covers three kinds of ticks in addition to fleas, so this puts it above Comfortis and Trifexis in the flea/tick competition.  Comfortis only covers fleas and Trifexis, while covering heartworm and intestinal parasites, only treats against fleas.  The new active ingredient has also been shown to be more effective against ticks than fipronil, which is the active ingredient in Frontline.  All around, this sounds like a huge win, depending on what the price turns out to be.

All good stuff is readily reported, but as savvy pet owners, we need to dig a little deeper to make sure we don’t get caught up in the hype of something new and shiny.  Here is a little more info about this new medication and the information you should gather before deciding what to do.

  1.  It is only available with a prescription from a veterinarian.  Topicals are available without a prescription.
  2. The active ingredient in BRAVECTO is Fluralaner which is ingested and rapidly absorbed in to the blood and distributed throughout the body.  What this means is, your flea and tick friends will have to BITE your dog to get a taste of the toxin.  It appears that happens within 12 hours, but that depends on how much they eat and how fast.  Whether 12 hours is quick enough time to prevent disease, is still unknown, but that’s pretty fast in comparison to other products.
  3. In case you missed it, this product protects against three types of ticks for 12 weeks and a fourth, the Lone Star Tick, but only for 8 weeks.  The Lone Star tick happens to be pretty popular in this area and is a carrier of Erlichiosis, among other things, which we see exposure to fairly often.  I’ve already seen half a dozen ticks on me and my dogs this year and they have all been Lone Star ticks.
  4. Since there is an 8-week coverage for Lone Star and a 12-week coverage for the other tick species, what happens in the 4 week window where your dog is not completely covered?  Can you re-dose early?  Or do you have to use a topical in that time frame?  In that case, it may not be worth the extra cost and the extra dose to your pet.
  5. This product has been available in Europe, but only since 2013 and there is only a small amount of information available. However it is similar to afoxolaner, which is another active ingredient introduced by Merial in a product called NEXGARD.  Since it is so new, piles of information on the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of fluralaner in the dog’s body is pretty scarce.
  6. With a topical, if your dog has a reaction, you can quickly remove most of the problem by giving them a quick bath with something like Dawn.  However, with something that is ingested, by the time you see effects, it will be too late to force vomiting, so it will likely require a trip to your vet for supportive care.

While I’ve mentioned it, let’s talk about NEXGARD.  Another new oral mediation approved recently for fleas and the American Dog Tick.  Try as I may, I could not find information about why this product was labeled with such specific tick coverage.  After a lot of digging, it appears NEXGARD has received approval to re-label their product as effective against the black-legged tick (Lyme Disease carrier) and the Lone Star tick (Erlichia carrier).  However, NEXGARD’s active ingredient takes up to 48 hours to kill ticks, (far too long for my comfort level) and only lasts for 30 days.  On paper, this makes BRAVECTO a far superior product and that’s encouraging.   

It’s up to you if you want to try new medications suggested by your veterinarian.  Just make sure that once you hear about the good/new/exciting stuff, you ask about the drawbacks too.  Knowing what to expect and what to look for will keep your pup happy and healthy and your sanity intact.  I can guarantee you will see these medications on the shelves at your vet office in the coming weeks.  REMEMBER: This is just for fleas and ticks, you still need to have your dog on a heartworm prevention.  This is an alternative to the topical you may use currently, like Frontline, Advantix, etc.

For a handy chart comparing the older flea/tick medications from last year’s blog, click here and here.

Cheers and happy hunting!

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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