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Evaluation of the efficacy of topically administered imidacloprid + pyriproxyfen and orally administered spinosad against cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis): Impact of treated dogs on flea life stages in a simulated home environment

Douglas H Ross1, Robert G Arther1, Cristiano von Simson1*, Veronica Doyle2 and Michael W Dryden3

Author Affiliations

1 Bayer HealthCare, LLC, Animal Health, P. O. Box 390, Shawnee, KS, 66201, USA

2 Charles River Laboratories, Preclinical Services Ireland, Ltd., Glenamoy, County Mayo, Ireland

3 Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506, USA

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:192  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-192

Published: 7 September 2012



Cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis, are one of the most common ectoparasites infesting dogs and their environments. This study evaluated the efficacy of imidacloprid + pyriproxyfen (PPF) (Advantage® II for Dogs) and spinosad (Comfortis®) against established C. felis populations in dogs’ simulated home environments.


Thirty Beagle dogs were randomly assigned to three groups of 10 dogs each and treated twice (Study Days 0 and 28) with imidacloprid + PPF, spinosad tablets, or a negative control (untreated). Dogs were housed individually in controlled simulated home environments capable of supporting the flea life cycle. Flea infestations were established in these environments by infesting each dog with 100 adult cat fleas on Study Days −21, -16 and 1. The impact of the treatments on fleas in the dogs’ environments were assessed by collecting floor mat samples from each simulated home environment, incubating them for 32 days, and counting the number of emerging adult fleas. On Study Days 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 and 56, after collection of the cocoa matting samples, each dog was infested with an additional 5 ± 1 fleas to maintain the environmental infestations. Flea comb counts on dogs were conducted on Study Days 0 (pretreatment) and 63.


From Study Days 7–28, flea infestations in the imidacloprid + PPF environments were significantly lower (p < 0.03) than those in the spinosad environments. Following the second treatment, flea infestations in all the imidacloprid + PPF environments fell to zero for the remainder of the study. In contrast, flea infestations persisted in some of the spinosad environments through the study’s end.

On Study Day 63 all 10 dogs treated with imidacloprid + PPF were flea free, while only one of the 10 spinosad treated dogs was flea free. Flea counts on the other 9 spinosad treated dogs ranged from 3 to 46 fleas/dog (geometric mean = 8.6). A mean of 405 adult fleas/animal were recovered from the control dogs on Study Day 63.


Flea infestations in environments of dogs treated with imidacloprid + PPF declined more rapidly than in those containing dogs treated with spinosad. Flea infestations were completely eliminated by Study Day 56 in environments of dogs treated with imidacloprid + PPF, but persisted through the study’s end in some of environments of dogs treated with spinosad.

Imidacloprid; Pyriproxyfen; Insect growth regulator; Advantage® II; Spinosad; Comfortis®; Dog; Ctenocephalides felis; Cat flea; Simulated home environment; Flea allergy dermatitis