A Better Approach to Flea and Tick Prevention.

Spring is here. The snow is melting away leaving a lot of mud, the grass will start to break through the layer of brown thatch soon and fleas and ticks will start to be a more regular finding in our exam rooms. There are a ton of really good and effective products out on the market. It seems to me the best way to sort them all out would be ease of use and cost per application.

A quick word about natural products. If there were natural products on the market that had the same efficacy as the pharmaceutical products but somehow also carried fewer side effects – which would be impressive considering the huge safety margins of currently available products – then maybe, maybe I would recommend them. But those products don’t exist so we don’t have to worry about that conversation.

When it comes to products I do recommend I am going to list them in order based on both ease of administration and cost per month of use. I am also sticking only with products that prevent fleas AND ticks. Some products will only prevent fleas, some even prevent fleas and heartworm but we are talking about fleas and ticks.

Recently Merck released a collar called Scalibor that will last 6 months and sells for about $30. This works out to $5 a month with only 2 applications necessary a year. This product is only sold through veterinarians. It is also only available for dogs.

Bayer also released a collar recently called the Seresto collar. It last 8 months (a little less if your dog is a big swimmer) and costs about $50. Coming in at just $6.25 per month with a single application, this is an easy and very cost effective option. Bonus: It’s available without a prescription. This is the only newer product available for dogs and cats.

Next in line is another Merck product, this one is called Bravecto. An oral flea and tick preventative for dogs over 6 months of age, this medication lasts for 12 weeks and costs about $50 per dose. This works out to about $16.70 per month of use and the easy to give chewable treat is very palatable making it easy to give. A little more expensive per month with either collar but this one can’t come off or be lost. It is available by prescription only.

Nexgard is another oral product, this one put out by Merial. It is given once monthly and costs about $65 for a three pack. Dogs take this one very well and it costs about $21.67 per month of use. A little more expensive than any of the topicals but a lot easier to use and slightly better efficacy.

Topical flea and tick medications include Frontline Plus, Advantix II, Certifect, Vectra 3d and Activyl. They will typically cost around $20 per month of use and require you to apply a liquid to your pet’s back, refrain from bathing for 24-48 hours on either side of treatment and some of the products are deadly if applied to cats. Advantix II has the added bonus of repelling mosquitoes so you could almost call it a heartworm preventative as well. Almost.

So there you have it, a decent list of flea and tick products broken down by ease of use and cost per month. I recommend year round prevention in any case and in all situations.

Thanks for reading.

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