What’s the Best Flea Preventative?

What is a better flea medication to use on cats? I gave my cat Tabby her flea medication in March and I used Frontline Plus...


What is a better flea medication to use on cats?
I gave my cat Tabby her flea
medication in March and I used Frontline Plus for
Cats. Just for the heck of it I went into
Google and found some very disturbing blogs that say
permethrin is an ingredient in some other flea
medications and it’s poisonous to cats. There was
also one blog which said that a person’s pet cat
died after using Frontline Plus flea medication.
So, my question to you would be
Doctor, what should we look out for when we buy
Flea medications and shampoos on our own. Thank
you in advance for your insight.

Manchester, CT

I find that if you google anything, you can find something disturbing, usually on the first page of results. I discussed this phenomenon recently in an article on NSAIDs. No flea medicine is perfect. Animals (and people) can have adverse reactions to any medicine, treatment, food or natural remedy. However, in the world of flea treatments, some are definitely better than others.

The two most tried-and-true flea preventatives are Frontline (or Frontline Plus) and Advantage. They have been on the market the longest, and millions of doses have been applied. Have animals had adverse reactions to these products? Definitely. In my practice, I have witnessed rare, mild adverse reactions to both, and I have heard tales of more serious reactions. But the reactions are rare.

Compare that with adverse reactions to fleas. I see those daily, and they are often severe.

Other reputable flea preventatives include Revolution and Capstar. Program is effective at preventing flea infestations in the house, although it won’t prevent fleas from biting your pet. ProMeris is a new product that looks promising, but I do not have much experience with it.

Adverse reactions can occur with any product. However, the ones I have listed above are the ones that I consider safest.

The flea preventatives that, in my experience, tend to cause the most problems are generally cheap, knock-off products. I have seen them in grocery stores and some pet stores. The packaging often is similar to higher quality treatments. I recommend that you avoid these products and try to stick to the ones listed above, or one recommended by your veterinarian.

Permethrin is an ingredient in some canine products. Although it is usually safe for dogs, it is toxic to cats. If a permethrin-containing canine product is accidentally applied to a cat, the cat is very likely to suffer adverse effects. Unfortunately, some permethrin-containing products are not labelled very clearly.

Your best bet is to get your flea preventative from a veterinarian or other reputable source. Insist on a high-quality, name brand product. In general, they are safer and more effective.

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