So what will be new in the war on fleas and ticks in 2003? There's a really good new addition this year, and it has some added protection for your dog. Bayer's new product, K9Advantix, is now available from your veterinarian, and it is as convenient to use as any other flea or tick product. K9Advantix provides bonus protection against mosquitoes, which is a feature that no product could claim until now.
An important fact is that K9Advantix is for dogs only. Its active ingredients include imidacloprid and permethrin, which work together to provide a neurotoxin to the fleas and ticks. As the prior product Advantage (Imidacloprid) by Bayer was, K9Advantix is safe for dogs when used as directed: applied between the shoulder blades once a month. The permethrin in K9Advantix prohibits its use in cats.
The new ground K9Advantix breaks is that it kills and repels mosquitoes. Particularly after summer 2002, when West Nile virus was found in 44 states, we needed some help in this battle. K9Advantix should provide some help to control that zoonotic (affecting multiple species) disease. It kills and repels more than 200 species of mosquitoes, therefore preventing the irritation of mosquito bites and the spread of some mosquito-borne diseases.
Speaking of mosquito-borne diseases, it is important to note that heartworm prevention still will be necessary, as K9Advantix has no claim against chemical prevention of heartworms. It is advised that dogs remain on Heartguard Plus, Interceptor or ProHeart 6 to complete the cycle of monthly (or in ProHeart's case, 6 months') protection.
Most Americans are familiar with Lyme disease and its spread by ticks. Until recently, it was assumed that the deer tick was the main culprit in Lyme's spread (mainly in the Northeast), but now Lyme disease has been isolated in virtually every state due to other vectors, including the American dog tick, brown dog tick and the lone star tick. Therefore, repelling ticks with a product like K9Advantix is a good idea for disease prevention, since K9Advantix prevents attachment to the dog by all the aforementioned species of ticks. The risks of other tick-borne dog diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and erlichiosis may be significantly reduced through the use of K9Advantix.
Merials' product, Frontline Top Spot, also is good for monthly flea and tick control, but it has no activity against mosquitoes. It also should be noted that Advantage (Bayer) still is effective for monthly flea control only, but many veterinarians (like me) will be phasing out the dog Advantage in favor of K9Advantix. Bayer's Advantage will still be available for use in cats, as will Revolution (Pfizer).
Ask your veterinarian about K9Advantix as the tick season swings into gear. Your dog will definitely benefit from this product.
-- Dr. Chris Duke is a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Miss.