Decreasing feeding time for fleas and rapidly reducing their total numbers can help control flea-allergic dermatitis (FAD). Insect growth regulators (eg, lufenuron, pyriproxyfen, [S]-methoprene) and adulticides (eg, fipronil, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, selamectin, dinotefuran, metaflumizone, spinetoram, spinosad) were compared and mechanisms of action reviewed.

A recent concept of a pruritus threshold suggests that reducing (vs eliminating) the flea burden may sufficiently control signs of FAD, as cats can tolerate some pruritus. For indoor cats, control is likely attainable through host treatment only, while indoor/outdoor cats can benefit from environmental treatment as well.

Recommendation for treating the nonallergic indoor/outdoor single cat is monthly application of adulticide with larvicidal and ovicidal activity, such as the endectocides (eg, selamectin, fipronil, imidacloprid). The allergic cat in a multicat home should receive a product that rapidly kills adult fleas (eg, nitenpyram, spinosad, dinotefuran) and an insect growth regulator (eg, lufenuron, pyriproxyfen). All household cats should receive an insect growth regulator. Environmental control includes mechanical removal and insecticides.

This comprehensive review of traditional and newer flea products emphasized the importance of understanding flea biology when devising a control strategy and reviewed misconceptions regarding flea biology and control strategies. Of note, fleas are not contagious between pets but primarily acquired from the environment; therefore, don’t forget how helpful a vacuum cleaner can be.—Glenn Allen Olah, DVM, PhD, DABVP (Feline)

Flea control in cats: New concepts and the current armoury. Siak M, Burrows M. J FELINE MED SURG 15:31-40, 2013.