Fleas Part Three - Over the counter flea products vs. ones prescribed by a veterinarian

May 11, 2016 / Cat's Meow / Leave a comment

Keeping our furry friends free of fleas is a matter of both comfort and safety, as fleas are as annoying to them as they are to us. So, in this final blog about fleas, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about the differences between Vet and Over-The-Counter (OTC) flea products. 


We recommend Advantage Multi (which contains the active ingredients imidacloprid and moxidectin) &/or Revolution (which contains selamectin) because of these benefits:

1.Once a month topical application  

2.VERY effective against fleas

How effective? There is no need to perform environmental treatments - like powders or flea shampoo – as 98-100% of fleas are killed within 24 hours.

3.30 day residual effect to prevent re-infestation by eliminating/altering flea eggs

4.Heart worm & Parasite (ear mites, hookworms & round worms) protection

5.Can be used in kittens as young as 8 weeks old

6.Safe for the household as it will not rub off onto people after it is absorbed into the skin

7.VERY safe & reliable when used properly. This means protecting all of the animals in the household, applying to the skin in the right areas (the back of the neck) and at the right intervals (every 30 days).


You can find many different brands of flea products at supermarkets, local shopping marts, pet supply stores and online retailers.

How Effective Are They For Fleas?

Many of the available products do work in theory, so this means on paper but not in the face of an actual infestation. It has been demonstrated that OTC products, due to resistance & lack of residual effect, will affect less than 50% of fleas. This means that fleas will continue to infest both your cat and your home.

How Safe Are They?

OTC flea products are found in a variety of formulations that include: sprays, baths, collars, dips, dusts, powders & spot-on treatments. 

1.Pyrethroid based products  (made from extracts of the chrysanthemum flower) have been identified by Health Canada to be accountable for 1600 pet deaths and more than half of the 'major' pesticide pet reactions reported in the last five years. Cats exposed will experience: lethargy, vomiting, salivation, tremors, violent seizures, coma and/or death.

2.OTC flea products containing organophosphate insecticides (OPs) and carbamates are also very dangerous. If the ingredient list includes carbaryl or propoxur, the product contains a carbamate. Do NOT use!. Cats are particularly vulnerable to these chemicals as they lack the ability to metabolize them & they tend to ingest them by licking their fur

OTC spot-on treatments can cause reactions in cats for many reasons, including improper application (dog products on cats) or contact irritation. Signs to watch for include: vocalization, skin irritation, hair loss, chemical burn, inappetance (not eating) & lethargy.


What About ‘All Natural’ Products?

There are no controlled research studies to verify that these products actually do what they claim to do.  So in the face of an infestation you may find yourself & your furry friend frustrated with the potential lack of results.


Please feel free to contact us before applying any OTC product onto your animal, as we value their health & safety as much as you do. We would love the opportunity to discuss all of the flea products available and help you come to an informed decision that will benefit both you and your furry feline.

Written by Dr. Shari Muller

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