A Pill to Prevent Fleas?

Is Programô too good to be true?

Good news: The good news for veterinarians and some consumers is that there is now a monthly pill called Programô which your pet can swallow to help control the fleas coming into your house. Although fleas that bite your dog or cat do not die, any flea that comes into your house by hitchhiking on your pet (consuming a delicious blood meal on the way) will be unable to reproduce for up to two weeks and thus temporarily unable to re-infest your living space. Experiments with confined dogs in kennel environments have shown that within a few months, formerly flea-infested research kennels have become almost flea free after treating the animal who lives there with Programô only.

Bad News: The medication is only worthwhile for a small minority of pets. Because fleas are not killed or repelled by the oral dosage, dogs and cats that roam free (not confined to a controlled area) pick up new fleas and flea bites repeatedly as well as being bitten again and again by the now-sterile but still biting original pests. The pill costs approximately $30-$50 per 6 month treatment and your pet must take it all year, which makes medicating a single pet ($60-$100/year) expensive, and a multiple pet household outrageous.

Stray Animals Leave Reproducing Fleas in Your environment: Even if you keep your pets confined, what about fleas in your yard or the apartment complex grass, from your neighbors' dogs, stray cats, squirrels or other uncontrolled wildlife? Any animal that strolls near your environment dropping fleas which have not already feasted on your own pet will be leaving reproducing flea time bombs. Their eggs will hatch and each and every hatchling will have to bite your poor dog or cat before the problem is under control again.

Likewise, apartment dogs and indoor/outdoor cats, while preventing your apartment from becoming infested with fleas they bring inside, will be providing the flea sterilization program for the whole neighborhood. Each flea in the surrounding grass will have to bite your pet. In an apartment environment, it is virtually impossible for one animal on the pill to clear the whole area, so your hard earned dollars spent on the pill will be wasted.

What about flea allergies? Dogs and cats with flea allergies cannot have even one flea bite if you wish to prevent the tortuous reaction they suffer and the veterinary bills that come with it. Taking the pill is a little like closing the barn door after the horse is out. The flea has to bite BEFORE it is affected. In fact EVERY flea has to bite your allergic dog every two weeks before the problem is solved. Being repeatedly bitten by fleas is unacceptable for the dog who is allergic to the flea bite. But it is equally unacceptable for a dog who is not allergic if you don't want him to develop an allergy.

What can you do? Why not use an inexpensive, non-toxic Insect Growth Regulator (birth control for fleas) similar to the pill but applied directly to the carpet or yard where the fleas reproduce? There are several brands of non-toxic, hormone-mimicking insect growth regulators (IGR) in liquid form for premise application.

Unlike the pill, when you use an IGR fleas don't need to bite your pet to stop reproducing. Flea eggs developing in an area treated with an IGR are unable to complete their reproductive life cycle, and never mature. It is as safe or safer than the pill, less costly, more effective, and some IGRs can be used both inside and out.

What about the pill? It may help, but remember that Programô is only half of the program!

  • Two fleas in one house with one pet to feast upon can produce over 1 million offspring in their usual 9 month life-span

  • By nature, fleas often prefer light-colored pets to darker ones, and they are attracted to white (such as tennis shoes and white socks)

  • Flea cacoons can hibernate for up to a year. It is this dormant stage which best survives winter to torment you and your pets again each Spring

  • Most Inset Growth Regulators are destroyed by Ultra-violet light and, therefore, not useful as yard treatments. See: Flea Fix for exceptions to this weakness.

Common Pesticides Put Consumers at Risk
Insect Growth Regulators - the new Frontier Prescription for 100% Flea Control