Short Takes: 02/06

A comparison of flea products; cats-only veterinary practices; reunions

Imidacloprid Zaps Fleas Fastest, But Other Products
Work As Well

If the trademarked names for flea treatments sound like video games, try pronouncing the pharmacological terms for the chemicals in Revolution, Advantage and Frontline: Selamectin, Imidacloprid and Fipronil-(S)-Methoprene, respectively.

Luckily, scientists didnt have to pronounce the words when they wrote in the journal Veterinary Therapeutics (Vol. 6, No. 3) about Comparative Speed of Kill of selamectin, imidacloprid and fipronil-(S)-methoprene Spot-On Formulations Against Fleas on Cats.

Researchers took 80 cats, infested each with 100 adult fleas (Ctenocephalides felis of the Kansas 1 strain), and applied one of the three different treatments to randomly selected cats.

Heres what they reported: Following initial application, only Imidacloprid caused a significant reduction of adult fleas on treated cats within six hours; by 24 hours, however, all three formulations had killed at least 96.7 percent of the fleas.

A week later the inquiring scientists put 100 new Kansas 1 fleas on each cat, and they reported the following: At seven days after treatment, all three formulations had reduced flea populations by at least 68.4 percent, and by at least 99.4 percent within 24 hours.

Our interpretation? If you want to see your cats fleas die really fast, use Advantage. Otherwise, they all work about the same.

In the interest of full disclosure, the study was conducted by scientists at Pfizer Animal Health – which makes Revolution – and by veterinary researchers at the University of Kansas – where they seem mighty proud of their Kansas 1 flea. Almost like its the new mascot or something. Here at Cornell, the Big Red Bear warns the Kansas Jayhawk: Dont lose your flea collar!


Cats Keep Out!
A veterinarians commentary in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine (Vol. 227, No. 10) makes The Case for Canine-Exclusive Practice while demonstrating that feline patients have a lot going for them, too.

Already there are more than 480 feline-exclusive veterinarians practicing in the United States – either at small-animal veterinary practices that also treat dogs and other companion animals, or at the more than 200 cats-only clinics. And those numbers are growing rapidly, according to the AVMA 2005 Membership Directory & Resource Manual, while no one has thought to start a canine-exclusive clinic.

Numerous cat-owners (and presumably their pets, too) prefer feline-only practices because the atmosphere for cats is much improved without the presence of dogs, which may add to an already stressful environment, writes Michael Karg, DVM. He reports that more small-animal hospitals are providing separate entrances for feline patients, along with effective odor, noise and sight barriers. 

Who will open the first canine-exclusive hospital? Dr. Karg asks, rhetorically, before tipping his hand.  Turns out he works at a feline-only practice in Frederick, Maryland.  I have always had a greater affinity for cats than any other species, he confesses, and feel most comfortable working with them. You had us worried for a minute there, Doc.


Microchips Reunite Hurricane Pets with Owners
The volunteer pet-recovery work of students and technicians from Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine in hurricane-swamped Baton Rouge, Louisiana, must have felt like a premium service to some 3,000 rescued cats and dogs. 

Returning to Ithaca after three months in a very noisy Parker Coliseum, DVM student Dawn Greenberg said volunteers from her school and others treated every rescued pet to a radio-frequency microchip and a photo ID. There were some cases of dogs and cats with microchips already, Greenberg reported, and we were able to find their owners (much faster).  This felt like winning the lottery!