Biology, Treatment, and Control of Flea and Tick Infestations

Department of Pathobiology, 166 Greene Hall, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn AL 36849-5519, USA.
Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice (Impact Factor: 0.82). 11/2009; 39(6):1173-200, viii. DOI: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2009.07.001
Source: PubMed


Flea and tick infestations are common and elimination can be expensive and time consuming. Many advances in control of fleas can be directly linked to improved knowledge of the intricacies of flea host associations, reproduction, and survival in the premises. Understanding tick biology and ecology is far more difficult than with fleas, because North America can have up to 9 different tick species infesting cats and dogs compared to 1 primary flea species. Effective tick control is more difficult to achieve than effective flea control, because of the abundance of potential alternative hosts in the tick life cycle. Many effective host-targeted tick control agents exist, several of which also possess activity against adult or immature fleas and other parasites.

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    • "Tick control may be accomplished by a great variety of synthetic acaricides, which eliminate infestations and prevent re-infestations for a certain period of time (Blagburn and Dryden 2009). However, the indiscriminate use of commercial acaricides is an emerging problem, leading to the selection of resistant strains of ticks, toxicity to humans and hosts, and damages to the environment (Blagburn and Dryden 2009; Rosado-Aguilar et al. 2010). The adverse effects of synthetic pesticides and the necessity for environmentally safe alternatives for pest control has led to the search for products extracted from plants, among which stand out the extracts from Annona squamosa (Magadum et al. 2009), Aegle marmelos, Andrographis lineata, Andrographis paniculata, Cocculus hirsutus, Eclipta prostrata (Elango and Rahuman 2011), Cuminum cyminum, Pimenta dioica (Martinez-Velazquez et al. 2011), Acorus calamus (Ghosh et al. 2011), and many others, including Azadirachta indica, the neem tree, which stands as one of the options with higher potential (Raizada et al. 2001; Brahmachari 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: The concern about the harmful effects caused by synthetic pesticides has led to the search for safe and ecological alternatives for pest control. In this context, the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) stands out due to its repellent properties and effects on various arthropods, including ticks. For this reason, this study aimed to demonstrate the potential of neem as a control method for Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks, important vectors of diseases in the veterinary point of view. For this, R. sanguineus semi-engorged females were subjected to treatment with neem seed oil enriched with azadirachtin, its main compound, and ovaries were assessed by means of morphological techniques in conventional light microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Neem demonstrated a clear dose-dependent effect in the analyzed samples. The observed oocytes presented, especially in the groups treated with higher concentrations of neem oil, obvious signs of cytoplasmic disorganization, cellular vacuolization, nuclear and nucleolar irregularity, dilation in mitochondrial cristae, alterations in mitochondrial matrix, and swelling of rough endoplasmic reticulum. Intracellular microorganisms were observed in all analyzed groups, reinforcing the importance of ticks in the transmission of pathogens. A greater quantity of microorganisms was noted as the concentration of neem increased, indicating that the damaged oocytes may be more susceptible for their development. Such morphological alterations may promote future damages in reproductive performance of these animals and demonstrate the potential of neem seed oil for the control of R. sanguineus ticks, paving the way for new, cheaper, and safer methods of control.
    Parasitology Research 10/2014; 114(2). DOI:10.1007/s00436-014-4200-6 · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    • "There are several strategies available to control tick infestations, including avoidance of infested environments, particularly during periods when ticks are active (Otranto et al., 2009; Blagburn and Dryden, 2009). Regular administration of an acaricide is also important since owners may not be aware of what tick species are common in their area and avoiding infested environments may be difficult. "
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    ABSTRACT: Efficacy of afoxolaner, a novel isoxazoline insecticide/acaricide, against Ixodes scapularis was evaluated in a laboratory study. One day prior to treatment, beagle dogs (n = 16) were infested with 50 unfed wild adult ticks. Repeat infestations were performed weekly for four additional weeks. The number of live ticks remaining on each dog was determined 48 h after treatment and after each subsequent infestation. A single oral treatment with a dose approaching the minimum effective dose of afoxolaner (2.5 mg/kg) eliminated the pre-existing infestations of I. scapularis ticks and controlled weekly re-infestations, with efficacy between 98% and 100% recorded until Day 23 and 94% at Day 30.
    Veterinary Parasitology 04/2014; 201(3-4). DOI:10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.02.015 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    • "Fleas remain the most common parasites in cats [1] [2] [3] [4]. In addition to potentially carry zoonotic diseases [5], fleas cause skin irritations due to their bites, including in some animals an allergic dermatitis (the so-called flea allergic dermatitis or FAD) [6] [7]. FAD is the most common allergic skin disease of dogs and cats, although its frequency varies according to geographical location. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of the study were (i) to describe adult fleas distribution in a strictly indoor cat colony composed of cats with flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) and non-FAD cats and (ii) to evaluate the efficacy of spinosad used alone. Skin lesions were scored according to the SCORing Feline Allergic Dermatitis lesion severity scale (SCORFAD) on days 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90. Cats were combed prior to the treatment (days 0, 30, and 60) and on days 15, 45, and 90; collected fleas were replaced on the animals. All cats received flavored spinosad tablets (Comfortis) at a dosage of 50-75 mg/kg on days 0, 30, and 60. Cats were fed immediately afterwards. On day 0, a total of 60 fleas were collected (mean: 4 ± 4). Cats with FAD had a SCORFAD of 6, 8, 12, and 13 and harbored 0, 2, 1, and 0 fleas, respectively. Tablets were taken voluntarily by 8, 11, and 12 cats on days 0, 30, and 60, respectively. No adverse event was recorded. From day 15 to day 90, no fleas could be collected. SCORFAD was reduced by 40%, 71%, 80%, 89%, and 98% on days 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90, respectively.
    02/2014; 2014:484308. DOI:10.1155/2014/484308
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