1500 East Boston Post Road o Mamaroneck, NY 10543

Judith S. Johnessee, MS, DVM
Diplomate, American College of
Veterinary International Medicine



Many of you already know about Program, the once a month flea birth control pill. While it unfortunately does not kill fleas, it does prevent the occasional flea from causing a major infestation. It is easy, convenient, non-toxic, and can be given to puppies and kittens as young as 6 weeks, and is even safe enough to be used in nursing dogs and cats. As an adjunct to other flea control it is extremely helpful in reducing the numbers of fleas in the environment (remember that 10 adult female fleas will lay 80,000 eggs in 60 days!), and in areas of low infestation can be a useful preventative. It will not protect a flea allergic animal from being bitten by fleas and is therefore not helpful in flea allergy dermatitis. In order to be effective all dogs and cats in the household, even strictly outdoor ones, need to be on Program.


This is an easy to apply once a month topical solution that is applied behind the head high upon the neck of the cat once a month. It is non-toxic and will kill 98-100% of the fleas on the cat within 24 hours. In cases of severe infestation, bathing the cat first may be helpful, but bathing is obviously not recommended after the product is applied. If for some reason, the cat must be bathed, the Advantage may be reapplied, but if re-treatment becomes necessary, do not bathe and retreat more often than once weekly. In cases of heavy infestation where the house has large numbers of eggs hidden in the environment, year round treatment is highly recommended. As Advantage kills the adults before they have a chance to reproduce, and often before they have a chance to bite, it is extremely helpful in cases of flea allergy dermatitis. Although it has been,.-shown to be safe in pregnant and nursing cats and there are no known drug interactions, safety studies are not available in cats under 16 weeks and it is not currently recommended for kittens in this age group. All cats in the household over 16 weeks should be treated, not just those that go outside. If Advantage is used, it is debatable if Program also needs to be used. It may provide an extra safety margin if Advantage is forgotten or improperly applied. With severe and resistant infections and profoundly itchy animals sometimes you need all the help you can get. Advantage has no efficacy against ticks, only fleas.


This product is an easily applied once a month topical solution for use on dogs only, it cannot be used on cats. It repels and kills fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. In cases of severe infestation, the dog should probably be bathed first, but again, should obviously not be bathed after Breakthru is applied. Water alone will not remove Breakthru, a shampoo is required. Even if the dog is shampooed however, Breakthru should not be reapplied more often than every 3 weeks. It is safe when used on pregnant animals, but is not recommended for use on nursing animals as the puppies may nurse on treated fur. Safety studies are not available on puppies under 6 months, and therefore treatment of this age group is not recommended. All dogs in the environment should be treated, and the cats should be treated with Advantage. Use of this product kills fleas often before they bite, and kills ticks before they can transmit Lyme disease. Whether or not Program needs to be used with this product is debatable, but again, may offer an extra degree of protection.


Frontline Top Spot's active ingredient is fipronil. When applied to the skin and hair coat fipronil dissolves in the oils on the skin and actually spreads over the pet's entire surface, concentrating in the hair follicles and oil-producing glands of the skin. It is not removed from these protected areas by swimming or routine bathing, although the use of a benzoyl peroxide shampoo like Oxydex can remove it, if needed. Frontline can be used safely on 10 week old puppies and 12 week old kittens unlike the Breakthru and Advantage, and will kill ticks for a month or more and fleas for one to three months after one application. As the molecule is located on the surface of the skin and hair coat, a blood meal is not necessary, making this product ideal for flea allergic animals. Optimal protection is provided by monthly application as this prevents tick bite exposure to Lyme and other tick borne diseases. This product is safe, effective, and convenient. It is currently not licensed for use in pregnant or nursing animals or on ferrets, although it has been successfully used on ferrets by employees of Rhone Merieux, the company that makes it. 1-706-548-9292


With new kittens and puppies which have already brought fleas into the house and which are too young for Advantage and Breakthru, use of Program will reduce the proliferation of fleas, but will not eliminate them from the house. Until the animals are old enough for topical treatment, use of a household insecticide like Siphotrol Plus II which contains an adulticide and an Insect Growth Hormone Regulator will help eliminate the infestation. Spray all floor types -- wood, linoleum and carpet, and spray under beds, in closets, and upholstered furniture, especially in the case of kittens. Spray lightly once weekly after vacuuming with a mothball in the vacuum cleaner bag.

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