Bravecto for dogs: does it work and is it safe?

Bravecto for dogs: does it work and is it safe?

As a dog owner you want to keep your beloved pet happy and healthy, and this should involve regular anti-parasite treatment. Fleas and ticks are some of the most commonly encountered bugs, but did you know that they can cause your dog all sorts of serious problems? Thankfully, there are lots of different products available to prevent or kill these biting bugs on your dog. Bravecto is one of the newer products available, which offers up to 12 weeks of flea and tick protection. Let’s find out a little more about Bravecto, to decide if it is a good choice for your dog.

What is Bravecto?

bravecto large dogs

Bravecto is a long lasting treatment that offers up to 12 weeks of continuous protection against fleas and ticks. It is a new product that works faster and lasts longer than many other available flea and tick treatments. 

It is available as a pork flavored chewy tablet or a liquid spot on, with formulations of different strengths to suit toy dogs right up to extra large dogs. Fluralaner is the active ingredient in Bravecto.

Why use Bravecto?

Effective: Acts quickly to kill adult and immature fleas and ticks

Convenient: Offers up to 12 weeks of continuous protection against fleas and ticks

Easy to administer: Available as a flavorsome chewy tablet or a liquid spot on

Continue swimming: Your dog can continue to swim or be regularly bathed

Fleas are extremely irritating and often cause a dog to bite and itch at its skin, which quickly leads to the skin becoming red, sore or infected. However, these tiny little bugs can also cause more serious health problems such as anemia (low red blood cell levels) or a tapeworm infection.  Sometimes fleas can also bite humans, and if left unchecked can even infect your home.

Ticks latch onto a dog’s skin, which can cause irritation and itchiness. They also suck the dog’s blood which after a while can lead to anemia. However most importantly, they can also transmit some serious diseases to both dogs and humans (e.g. Lyme disease, Canine Ehrlichiosis, Bartonella).The diseases that ticks transmit will vary depending on which country and area you live in- so ask your veterinarian. The Pet Health Network provides some great information and maps to help figure out what tick diseases your dog is at risk of.

What does Bravecto protect your dog against?

Bravecto can treat infestations and protect your dog for 12 weeks against:

  • Fleas (Ctenocephalides felis)
  • Black Legged tick (Ixodes scapularis)
  • American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
  • Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)
  • Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)  (8 weeks protection)

Bravecto can also be used for the treatment and control of:

  • Ear mites (Otodectes cynotis)
  • Demodex mite (Demodex spp.)
  • Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei)
  • Flea tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum)

Talk to your veterinarian about a suitable parasite control programme for your dog.

How does Bravecto work?

Fluralaner, is a new innovative product that belongs to the isoxazoline group of chemicals. It works by disrupting the central nervous system of insects, by blocking GABA receptors in their cell membranes and swiftly causing the insects to die.

Once a dog is given Bravecto, it is rapidly absorbed and enters the tissue fluids under the dog’s skin. Then when the fleas and ticks attach and feed, they ingest Bravecto and die.

Bravecto is slightly different to many other flea and tick products, in that the active ingredient fluralaner kills both adult and immature fleas and a variety of ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick). Some other products only work by stopping the reproduction cycle of fleas, which can therefore take a while for the fleas to die off.  Fluralaner kills fleas before they can reproduce and lay eggs, therefore it helps to quickly reduce contamination of the dogs’ environment.

When does Bravecto start working?

Bravecto works fast, it starts killing fleas and ticks within 2 hours of giving the tablet or applying the spot on liquid.

German studies found that more than 95% of fleas were killed within 8 hours, and more than 95% of ticks were killed within 12 hours of giving the treatment. And the amazing thing is that these results were consistent when the dogs were retested throughout the entire 12 weeks.

Is Bravecto safe?

Most dog owners worry if this long acting insecticide is safe for their pooch, and rightly so, you don’t want to give your dog anything that could cause harm. Let’s take a look at the facts.

Bravecto has been rigorously tested through randomized, controlled and blinded clinical trials in Europe and clinical field studies in the United states. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP). This means that Bravecto has been fully tested and found to be a quality, safe and efficient anti-parasitic product, and that the benefits of Bravecto outweigh any risks in taking it.

That all sounds good, however that doesn’t mean that there are no possible side effects for your dog if he takes Bravecto!

Bravecto for dogs: are there any side effects?

Yes, there is a risk of some possible side effects for dogs taking Bravecto. However, this isn’t new as nearly every medication or anti-parasitic treatment will have a list of potential side effects.

Studies have shown that if given at the recommended dose, Bravecto is generally well tolerated but mild gastrointestinal upset (diarrhoea, vomiting) is the most commonly reported side effect. These gastrointestinal signs are usually transient, and quickly improve.

The Bravecto product datasheet and clinical studies have shown that possible side effects or adverse reactions include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Increased thirst
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dermatitis
  • Seizures
  • Weakness/lethargy

In a well-controlled U.S. field study, which included a total of 165 households and 321 treated dogs (221 with fluralaner and 100 with a topical active control), there were no serious adverse reactions reported.

However, due to the fact that a very small number of dogs have suffered a seizure as a possible side effect of Bravecto, it ideally should not be used in dogs with epilepsy or a history of seizures.

There are no known adverse drug interactions between Bravecto and other medications. However, it is advised to discuss your dog’s health history and all current medications with your veterinarian before starting Bravecto.

Is Bravecto safe for pregnant dogs?

Bravecto has been found to be safe for use in breeding, pregnant and lactating dogs. Studies have shown that there were no toxic effects on pregnant females or on fetal development.

Is Bravecto safe for puppies?

dog and cat flea treatment

In the US, the Bravecto datasheet states that this product is safe and effective for puppies over 6 months of age and weighing over 4.4lb (2kg).

However, in the UK and New Zealand it is approved for use in puppies from 8 weeks of age and over 4.4lb (2kg).

On further investigation, Bravecto has been tested and found safe in puppies as young as 8 weeks of age at five times the normal dose. However, the main problem is that Bravecto was not shown to be effective for the full 12 weeks in puppies less than 6 months of age.

Is Bravecto cost effective?

Bravecto is priced higher than some of the other flea and tick treatments available. However, it is important to remember that Bravecto is usually only administered every 12 weeks, not every month like many of the other products. Therefore, over time it could actually work out a lot cheaper!

Conclusion

Bravecto offers some great advantages, in that it is easy and convenient to administer, is fast acting and provides a long lasting 12-week protection against fleas and ticks.

Extensive studies have shown that Bravecto is effective and safe for most dogs, and extremely effective at getting rid of fleas and ticks. However, some side effects have been reported with mild gastrointestinal upset being the most common. If your dog has epilepsy or any history of seizures, then this product is not recommended.

Talk to your veterinarian to check if Bravecto would be a good choice for your dog.

References

CVMP. (2013, Dec 12). Fluralaner: CVMP assessment report for Bravecto (EMEA/V/C/002526/0000). Retrieved Nov 01, 2019, from Veterinary Medicines Division Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) : https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/assessment-report/bravecto-epar-public-assessment-report_en.pdf

Taenzler, J., Wengenmayer, C., Williams, H., Fourie, J., Zschiesche, E., Roepke, R. K., & Heckeroth, A. R. (2014). Onset of activity of fluralaner (BRAVECTO™) against Ctenocephalides felis on dogs. Parasites & vectors7, 567. doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0567-6

Wengenmayer, C., Williams, H., Zschiesche, E., Moritz, A., Langenstein, J., Roepke, R. K., & Heckeroth, A. R. (2014). The speed of kill of fluralaner (Bravecto™) against Ixodes ricinus ticks on dogs. Parasites & vectors7, 525. doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0525-3

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