Background: Dog communities living in kennels are at high risk of being infected by ticks and fleas. In spite of the indubitable efficacy of several topical ectoparasiticides registered for the control of ectoparasites in dogs, the short period of action and the price of these products limit their use in dog communities. This paper reports on the efficacy of imidacloprid/flumethrin slow release collars to cure dogs highly infested with ectoparasites and to prevent infestations for 8 months in a refuge with a history of unsuccessful environmental treatments.
Methods: A total of 82 dogs were collared with slow release collars containing a formulation of imidacloprid 10% / flumethrin 4.5%. Dogs were followed-up for ectoparasite presence after 2, 7 and 14 days and thereafter biweekly up to 90 days. Furthermore, dogs were examined for ectoparasites whilst replacing collars 8 months after their application.
Results: At the time of treatment 79 (96.3%) out of 82 included dogs were heavily infested by ticks and 53 (68.8%) out of the 77 combed dogs were infested by fleas. Tick infested dogs had an estimated mean intensity of 46.9 (± 65.7), while flea infested animals had a load between 20 and 50 fleas. In addition, some of the flea infested dogs (18.9%) were presenting signs of flea allergic dermatitis (FAD). Two days after treatment, 49 (60.5%) and 9 (11.7%) dogs were still infested by live ticks and fleas, respectively. However, the mean intensity of ticks decreased to 3.5 (± 4.3) with a reduction of 92.5%. Except for sporadic cases, no attached ectoparasites were found on dogs from the day 14 visit until the end of the investigation. Cases of FAD resolved without any other treatment within 30 days.
Conclusions: Ticks and fleas represent a constant hazard for dog populations. Therefore, in particular settings, such as dog refuges, sustainable and long-term strategies to control ectoparasite infestations are needed. Based on the observed evidence of efficacy, long-term duration and safety, the imidacloprid/flumethrin slow release collars can be regarded as an efficacious and sustainable means for ectoparasite control and for treatment of FAD in high-risk dog communities.