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Efficacy of selamectin, spinosad, and spinosad/milbemycin oxime against the KS1 Ctenocephalides felis flea strain infesting dogs

Michael W Dryden1*, Patricia A Payne1, Vicki Smith1, Thomas C Berg2 and Melanie Lane2

Author Affiliations

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

2 Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health, Inc.), 333 Portage Street, KZO-300-306SW, Kalamazoo, MI, 49007, USA

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:80  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-80

Published: 25 March 2013



A study was conducted to evaluate and compare the efficacy of selamectin, spinosad, and spinosad/milbemycin oxime against the KS1 strain of Ctenocephalides felis on dogs.


Forty-eight dogs were selected for the study and two batches of 24 were blocked and allocated randomly to treatment groups and flea count times. There were four treatment groups of 12 dogs each: negative control, topical selamectin, oral spinosad/milbemycin oxime, and oral spinosad. Each dog was infested with 100 fleas on Days -2, 7, 14, 21 and 28. Within each treatment group, six dogs were flea counted at 24 hours and six at 48 hours after treatment or post-infestation. On Day 0, dogs received a single treatment of the appropriate drug according to the approved commercial label.


Efficacy of selamectin against an existing flea infestation was 60.4% and 91.4% at 24 and 48 hours, respectively, whereas spinosad/milbemycin oxime and spinosad were 100% at both time points. All products were >90% effective within 24 hours after subsequent infestations on Days 7, 14 and 21. Following the Day 28 flea infestation, selamectin was 93% and 95.7% effective at 24 and 48 hours, respectively. Whereas the efficacy of spinosad/milbemycin oxime following the day 28 infestation was 84.7% and 87.5% at 24 and 48 hours, respectively and spinosad alone was 72.9% and 76.3% effective at 24 and 48 hours, respectively.


After initial application, the two oral spinosad products had a more rapid onset of flea kill than topical selamectin which took up to 48 hours to control (>90%) the existing infestation. However, for subsequent weekly flea infestations selamectin had similar or better efficacy than spinosad or spinosad/milbemycin oxime at 24 and 48 hours after infestation. Spinosad/milbemycin oxime and spinosad were >90% effective against the KS1 strain from Day 1 to Day 23. Whereas, selamectin was >90% effective against the KS1 strain of C. felis from Day 2 to Day 30.

Flea; Ctenocephalides felis; Selamectin; Spinosad; Efficacy