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Vet Parasitol. 2008 Oct 1;156(3-4):293-301. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.04.028. Epub 2008 May 23.

Flea blood feeding patterns in cats treated with oral nitenpyram and the topical insecticides imidacloprid, fipronil and selamectin.

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Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA.


A series of studies was conducted to determine the effect of systemically and topically active insecticides on blood consumption by fleas (Ctenocephalides felis). Infestations were conducted by placing fleas into plexi-glass chambers attached to the lateral rib cage of domestic short-hair cats. After pre-defined periods, fleas and flea feces were extracted using vacuum aspiration and spectrophotometrically analyzed for hemoglobin using Drabkin's reagent. To determine how rapidly nitenpyram kills actively feeding fleas, a single oral treatment was administered 24h after infestation. To determine the effect of nitenpyram on blood consumption of newly acquired fleas, cats were infested with fleas 1h post-treatment and fleas and flea feces from both studies were extracted at 15, 30, 60, 120, 240 and 480min post-treatment or post-infestation. To compare the effects of topically versus systemically active insecticides, 20 cats each with 2 chambers attached, were randomly allocated among groups and were infested with fleas 1h after each of 4 nitenpyram treatments, or at 7, 14, 21 and 28 days after a single application of commercial spot-on formulations of fipronil, imidacloprid or selamectin. Infestations were also completed for untreated (control) cats. Twenty-four hours after infestation, fleas and flea feces were removed for host blood quantification. If at any time, flea blood consumption in a treated group did not significantly differ from that of fleas infesting controls, that treatment group was withdrawn from the study. Nitenpyram effects on actively feeding fleas were first observed at 60min post-dosing when 38% of fleas were dead or moribund, and at 240min 100% were dead or moribund. Nitenpyram produced a significant reduction in flea blood consumption (p<0.05), which appeared to cease 15min after infestation. For the treatment comparisons, significantly more (p<0.05) blood was consumed by fleas taken from imidacloprid and fipronil-treated cats than from the nitenpyram or selamectin groups. Only on nitenpyram- or selamectin-treated cats were there significant reductions (p<0.05) in flea blood consumption on days 21 and 28, with significant difference (p>0.05) between these two groups on day 28. In this study systemically acting insecticides such as nitenpyram, and the topically applied but systemically active insecticide selamectin, were more effective in interfering with flea blood feeding than were imidacloprid and fipronil.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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