New Anti-Flea Tablet Will Keep The Little Beggars From Breeding
By Gary Bogue
For Pets Monthly
The Atlanta Journal/The Atlanta Constitution
The nation’s 53 million dogs and their scratching owners may soon be wagging their tails with relief.
There’s a new, once-a-month flea-control tablet on the market that appears to offer a safe, convenient alternative to the usual clouds of stinking sprays and nasty flea powders.
The tablet - called PROGRAM (lufenuron) - was introduced by Ciba Animal Health, the U.S. Animal Health Division of Ciba-Geigy Ltd. Based in Greensboro, N.C. The drug is now available from most local veterinarians.
Yes, PROGRAM will only be sold through veterinarians, and that should have vets everywhere jumping for joy because flea control in the U.S. is a $900 million-per-year business.
That’s $2.5 million a day, by the way, and this little pill is going to take a BIG flea-bite out of that profitable business.
Alice Haynes, communications manager for Ciba Animal Health, explains why the pill is only being sold through vets.
“We want veterinarians to educate their clients about fleas and flea life cycles, and how to use PROGRAM to properly manage their pets’ flea problems.”
The pill works by preventing flea eggs from developing into adulthood, thereby breaking the flea life cycle.
PROGRAM inhibits the formation of chitin, the protective shell around fleas that makes the “crunch” sound when you squeeze one. It is theorized that the larvae don’t develop an “egg tooth” needed to cut their way out of the egg. Those few that do manage to hatch are unable to molt off their chitinous skins and die from dehydration.
The drug doesn’t kill adult fleas, but since they are unable to reproduce after eating the blood of a dog that has taken PROGRAM, they will die off naturally in a few weeks without adding to the population in your rug.
If adult fleas are causing your pet discomfort during this period, your vet can recommend the temporary use of conventional insecticides to zap those fleas immediately.
After that, the literature says, this monthly pill is all you need to protect your pet (and you) from the scourge of flea infestations.
PROGRAM appears to be most useful with indoor pets and those animals closely confined to your yard. Obviously, taking your dog for walks will allow it to pick up “hitchhikers,” but the Ciba folks claim the new fleas will be unable to reproduce after the first bite. And since most adult fleas live only about a month, the lonely newcomers will soon be gone.
PROGRAM has been used for both dogs and cats in 32 foreign countries since 1989. Ciba claims it has no contraindications and no side effects and is so safe it is recommended for dogs of all sizes and weights, even for pregnant and nursing females, breeding males and puppies as young as six-weeks-old.
Although the FDA has only approved PROGRAM so far for dogs, a liquid dosage for cats is expected to reach the market this summer.
The cost of PROGRAM isn’t cheap - $4 to $6 per pill depending on the size of your dog - but you probably spend that much a month on conventional flea potions and powders.
Original Doc: FLEAS02.WPD
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