While at the vet today with my cat it seems that I am not the only one experiencing flea problems this year. Here in the midwest we seem to be having quite a bad year for fleas. Prior to my move this summer I had not had a problem but, alas, I do now. I returned to my tried and true Frontline (active ingredients: fipronil and S-methoprene) but the fleas are still hanging out. This could be due to a few things; I have not gotten rid of the resident flea population is the most likely. Another possibility is that the fleas have developed resistance to these pesticides. Fipronil is more of a broad use insecticide and S-methoprene is growth regulator which disrupts the growth of egg and juvenile fleas. Odds are there is still a population of fleas somewhere in my household. Maybe in the rug or down in the basement. People often jump to the conclusion that pests simply become resistant and that’s why a product doesn’t work. While this does happen it is not as common as one might think; but when it does it can be devastating.
So what will I do? My vet showed me this new flea application product called Vectra which contains dinotefuran and pyriproxyfen. Dinotefuran is a common insecticide with demonstrated results treating other types of pest problems. Pyriproxyfen is another type of insect growth regulator. So what would be the point of switching if they are both essentially the same thing? One of the key components of any integrated pest management program (IPM) is do utilize a variety of treatments from cultural, mechanical as well as chemical. By keeping up with my cleaning and doing a thorough deep cleaning in addition to chemical treatment, perhaps alternating the type from time to time will provide the best control.
Please, keep in mind, if you try out this Vectra product, do NOT use the dog variety on your cat! The canine variety contains permethrin which has been demonstrated to cause toxic effects in cats. ONLY use the CAT type on your CAT! This applies to all of these products but I just want to be clear. Always read and follow instructions on the label.
The above paper is potentially a heavy read for some but very informative. If you’re not up for reading all 28 pages, here is a summary of the findings.
One study I found seems to suggest that dinotefuran does a better job than imidacloprid as a topical insecticide on cats. A 2009 study indicates that imidacloprid provided better control than fipronil-s-methoprene.