Once-a-month pill for pets for fleas/ticks

U.S. scientists say they have completed successful tests on a once-a-month pill for controlling fleas and ticks in dogs and cats.

Peter Meinke and colleagues at Merck Research Laboratories said there is a need for better ways of controlling fleas and ticks, because many of the 71 million pets in the United States live so closely with their owners.

Although many powders, sprays and other topical agents are on the market, many pet owners prefer the convenience of pills, Meinke says.

The study, published in the Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, says in tests on dogs and cats, a single dose of the new pill was 100 percent effective in protecting against both fleas and ticks for a month. In addition, there were no signs of toxic effects on the animals.

Scientists obtained the flea and tick fighter from a substance first found in a fungus that has the potential to usher in a new era in the treatment of ecoparasitic — ticks and fleas — infestations in companion animals, the researchers say.

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