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: 1.04). 11/2009; 39(6):1173-200, viii. DOI: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2009.07.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    ABSTRACT: The preventive effect of fluralaner chewable tablets (Bravecto™) against transmission of Babesia canis by Dermacentor reticulatus ticks was evaluated. Sixteen dogs, tested negative for B. canis by PCR and IFAT, were allocated to two study groups. On day 0, dogs in one group (n = 8) were treated once orally with a fluralaner chewable tablet according to label recommendations and dogs in the control group (n = 8) remained untreated. On days 2, 28, 56, 70 and 84, dogs were infested with 50 (±4) B. canis infected D. reticulatus ticks with tick in situ thumb counts 48 ± 4 h post-infestation. Prior to each infestation, the D. reticulatus ticks were confirmed to harbour B. canis by PCR analysis. On day 90, ticks were counted and removed from all dogs. Efficacy against ticks was calculated for each assessment time point. After treatment, all dogs were physically examined in conjunction with blood collection for PCR every 7 days, blood samples for IFAT were collected every 14 days and the dog's rectal body temperature was measured thrice weekly. From dogs displaying symptoms of babesiosis or were PCR positive, a blood smear was taken, and, if positive, dogs were rescue treated and replaced with a replacement dog. The preventive effect was evaluated by comparing infected dogs in the treated group with infected dogs in the untreated control group. All control dogs became infected with B. canis, as confirmed by PCR and IFAT. None of the 8 treated dogs became infected with B. canis, as IFAT and PCR were negative throughout the study until day 112. Fluralaner chewable tablet was 100 % effective against ticks on days 4, 30, 58, and 90 and an efficacy of 99.6 % and 99.2 % was achieved on day 72 and day 86 after treatment, respectively. Over the 12-week study duration, a 100 % preventive effect against B. canis transmission was demonstrated. A single oral administration of fluralaner chewable tablets effectively prevented the transmission of B. canis by infected D. reticulatus ticks over a 12-week period.
    Parasites & Vectors 06/2015; 8(1):305. DOI:10.1186/s13071-015-0923-1 · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to determine the flea diversity on urban dogs and cats in Australia in 2009-2010. A total of 2530 fleas were recovered from 291 animals (151 dogs, 69 cats and 71 uncategorised dogs or cats) from veterinary clinics across five states of Australia. The majority of specimens were from coastal areas. The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis) was the most frequent flea species identified (98.8%, 2500/2530). The only other flea species identified was the stickfast flea (Echidnophaga gallinacea) from Western Australia. Sequencing of the cytochrome oxidase subunit II mtDNA revealed a single haplotype across Australia within a subset of C. f. felis (n=19). Our study demonstrated dominance and haplotype homogeneity of C. f. felis on dogs and cats. Although Ctenocephalides canis was recovered from a feral fox, it was not identified from the sample of fleas analysed. This suggests that, under current conditions, it is unlikely that foxes are reservoirs of C. canis for domestic dogs or cats residing in coastal Australia, as previously speculated.
    Veterinary Parasitology 04/2011; 180(3-4):383-8. DOI:10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.03.035 · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of afoxolaner chewables to control flea populations in naturally infested dogs in private residences in Tampa FL, USA. Evaluations of on-animal and premises flea burdens, flea sex structure and fed-unfed premises flea populations were conducted to more accurately assess flea population dynamics in households. Thirty seven naturally flea infested dogs in 23 homes in Tampa, FL were enrolled in the study and treated with afoxolaner chewables. Chewables (NexGard® Chewables; Merial) were administered according to label directions by study investigators on study day 0 and once again between study days 28 and 30. Flea infestations on pets were assessed using visual area thumb counts and premises flea infestations were assessed using intermittent-light flea traps on days 0, 7, 14, 21, and once between study days 28-30, 40-45, and 54-60. Within 7 days of administration of afoxolaner chewable tablets, flea counts on dogs were reduced by 99.3 %. By one month post-treatment, total flea counts on dogs were reduced by 99.9 %, with 97.3 % (36/37) of the dogs being flea free. Following the second dosing on study day 28-30, total on-dog flea burden was reduced by 100 % on days 40-45 and 54-60. On day 0, the traps collected a geometric mean of 18.2 fleas. Subsequent reductions in emerging flea populations were 97.7 and 100 % by days 28-30 and 54-60, respectively. There were 515 total fleas (Ctenocephalides felis felis) collected in the intermittent light flea traps on day 0, and 40.4 % of those fleas displayed visual evidence of having fed. Seven days after initial treatment, only 13.1 % of the fleas contained blood and by day 14 only 4.9 % of the fleas collected in traps displayed evidence of having fed. On day 0, prior to treatment, 60 % of the unfed fleas collected in intermittent-light flea traps were females, but by days 28-30, unfed males accounted for 78 % of the population. This in-home investigation conducted during the summer of 2014 in subtropical Tampa, FL demonstrated that afoxolaner chewables rapidly and effectively eliminated flea populations in infested dogs and homes.
    Parasites & Vectors 05/2015; 8(1):286. DOI:10.1186/s13071-015-0897-z · 3.25 Impact Factor


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