Members of the Mustelidae family include mink and ferrets. Ferrets are becoming increasingly popular and often present with infestations of the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate 3 flea-control products, including 2 that are commercially available in the United States: imidacloprid (Advantage, Bayer) and imidacloprid/permethrin (K9 Advantix, Bayer). The third agent was phoxim. The study was conducted in juvenile mink (about 2 months of age at the start of the study) housed in pairs. The mink were naturally infested with fleas and randomly assigned to the treatment groups. Imidacloprid and imidacloprid/permethrin were applied at the base of the skull, and the phoxim was applied by spraying. All animals were treated on study days 0 and 28. A group was left untreated as negative controls. Clinical examinations, with special emphasis on the hair and skin, at days 1, 29, and 56 showed that the treatment was well-tolerated. Although all products were efficacious, the spray-on product yielded the best results, most likely because spraying the entire body also allowed product to be sprayed on the nesting material.
COMMENTARY: The safety of imidacloprid and imidacloprid/permethrin in mustelids had previously been reported, and this study confirms that the products are efficacious as well. The nesting material in this case provided a constant challenge for reinfestation. When working with ferret owners, the veterinarian must emphasize the importance of changing the bedding when treating flea infestation.
Efficacy of imidacloprid, imidacloprid/permethrin and phoxim for flea control in the Mustelidae (ferrets, mink). Larsen KS, Siggurdsson H, Mencke N. PARASITOL RES 97:S107-S112, 2005.