in New Jersey are describing discovery and successful tests of the
first once-a-month pill for controlling both fleas and ticks in
domestic dogs and cats. Their study is in the current issue of ACS’ Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.
Peter Meinke and colleagues at Merck Research Laboratories note the
need for better ways of controlling fleas and ticks, driven in part by
increases in pet ownership. Estimates suggest that there were 71
million pet dogs and 81 million pet cats in the United States alone in
2007 — up from 61 million and 70 million in 2001. Although many
powders, sprays and other topical agents are on the market, many pet
owners prefer the convenience of pills. Products given orally can reach
more parts of an animal’s body, do not wash off in rain or bath water,
and don’t transfer from pets to people. At least one existing pill
fights fleas in pets, but does not appear effective for ticks.
tests on fleas and ticks in dogs and cats, a single dose of the new
pill was 100 percent effective in protecting against both fleas and
ticks for a month. There were no signs of toxic effects on the animals.
Scientists obtained the flea and tick fighter from a substance first
found in a fungus that “has the potential to usher in a new era in the
treatment of ecoparasitic [ticks and fleas, for instance] infestations
in companion animals.”
— News release courtesy of American Chemical Society