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Longer-Term Flea Control

Clinician's Brief (Capsule)


|April 2016

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For flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), a common allergic skin disease of dogs, flea control is the most important component of treatment. In this open-label, small-scale study, 20 dogs with signs of FAD and proven hypersensitivity (positive intradermal flea antigen test and/or positive serology flea antigen-specific IgE antibody test) were enrolled. Dogs were treated once with an oral flea control product (fluralaner; Bravecto, Dogs were evaluated at 4-week intervals for 12 weeks. Clinical signs were monitored via Canine Atopic Dermatitis Extent and Severity Index (CADESI) scoring and owner-marked Pruritus Visual Analog Scale (PVAS). 

At 4 weeks, only 1/20 dogs was found to have fleas (n = 1 flea) and clinical signs of FAD had resolved in all dogs. At 8 weeks, 2/20 dogs had mild signs of FAD, but by 12 weeks all clinical signs had resolved. Flea counts were negative for all dogs at 8 and 12 weeks. CADESI and PVAS scores decreased throughout the study period, with the most significant decreases occurring in the initial 4 weeks posttreatment. No treatment-related adverse events were reported. The authors concluded that a single dose of fluralaner can control fleas and may improve signs of FAD in dogs for 12 weeks. Funding for study provided by MSD Animal Health. 


The primary treatment of FAD is year-round flea and tick control. Clients are highly motivated to use flea preventives at initial diagnosis and/or during a flare. It is not uncommon for clients to become more lax when the animal seems to be doing well. Fluralaner is an isoxazoline systemic insecticide for dogs that provides flea control for up to 12 weeks. The drug’s duration of action makes it less burdensome for owners to remember to administer the flea preventive. The use of year-round flea and tick preventive is also a key component of managing fleas as a flare factor for dogs with atopy.—Karen A. Moriello, DVM, DACVD


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