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A flea and tick collar containing 10% imidacloprid and 4.5% flumethrin prevents flea transmission of Bartonella henselae in cats

Michael R Lappin1*, Wendell L Davis2, Jennifer R Hawley1, Melissa Brewer1, Arianne Morris1 and Dorothee Stanneck3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Center for Companion Animal Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

2 Bayer HealthCare LLC, Shawnee, KS, USA

3 Bayer Animal Health GmbH, Leverkusen, Germany

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:26  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-26

Published: 25 January 2013



Bartonella henselae is transmitted amongst cats by Ctenocephalides felis and is associated with multiple clinical syndromes in cats and people. In a previous study, monthly spot-on administration of 10% imidacloprid/1% moxidectin was shown to block transmission of B. henselae amongst cats experimentally exposed to infected C. felis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether application of a flea and tick collar containing 10% imidacloprid and 4.5% flumethrin would lessen C. felis transmission of B. henselae amongst cats for 8 months.


Specific pathogen free cats (n = 19) were housed in three adjoining enclosures that were separated by mesh to allow C. felis to pass among groups but prevent cats in different enclosures from contacting one another. One group of 4 cats was inoculated intravenously with B. henselae and after infection was confirmed in all cats based on positive PCR assay results, the cats were housed in the middle enclosure. The B. henselae infected cat group was flanked by a group of 8 cats that had the collar placed and maintained for the duration of the study and a group of 7 cats that were not treated. Ctenocephalides felis (50 males and 50 females) raised in an insectary were placed on each of the 4 cats in the B. henselae infected group monthly for 7 applications and then every 2 weeks for 4 applications starting the day the collar was applied. Blood was collected from all cats weekly for Bartonella spp. PCR, serology and culture.


While side-effects associated with the collars were not noted, persistent fever necessitating enrofloxacin therapy occurred in two of the untreated cats. While B. henselae infection was ultimately confirmed in 4 of 7 of the untreated cats, none of the cats with collars became infected (P = 0.026).


In this study design, use of a collar containing 10% imidacloprid and 4.5% flumethrin was well tolerated and prevented C. felis transmission of B. henselae amongst cats for 8 months.

Bartonella; Ctenocephalides; Imidacloprid