By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is fluralaner?

Fluralaner (brand name Bravecto®) is used to treat and prevent flea and tick infestations in dogs and cats. After being administered to a pet, fluralaner is distributed throughout the body. When fleas or ticks bite the pet, they are exposed to the drug and killed during their blood meal.

Sometimes, fluralaner is used for the treatment of sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, or ear mites in dogs and cats. It is also sometimes used for skin and ear mites in rabbits and hedgehogs. When fluralaner is prescribed for these treatments, it is referred to as off-label use. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off-label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully, as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

How quickly does it kill fleas and ticks?

The majority of fleas will be killed within hours of biting a fluralaner-treated pet. Keep in mind that you will likely continue to see fleas on a treated pet for some time, especially if you have a flea infestation in your home. Fleas continue to hatch and climb onto your pet in search of a blood meal. The fleas’ death prevents reproduction and new eggs being laid in the home. The more fleas that climb onto your pet and are killed, the faster the infestation will be eliminated. It takes at least 12 hours for fluralaner to start to kill ticks; improvement in clinical signs should follow.

How do I give fluralaner to my pet?

Oral form (dogs): Fluralaner is given by mouth as a chewable tablet. The tablet should always be given as directed by your veterinarian. It should be given with a meal. Be sure your dog consumes the entire dose. If your dog vomits within three hours of receiving the chewable tablet, check with your veterinarian before you give another dose. If four or more hours have passed before the vomiting occurs, it is likely that the medication has been absorbed, and the dog is protected. There are two oral forms of fluralaner: one given to puppies under six months, which should be given every four weeks, and another that should be given every twelve weeks. Your veterinarian will indicate when the next dose should be given.

Topical form (dogs or cats): Fluralaner should be applied directly to the skin in one or more spots, starting between your pet’s shoulder blades and continuing along the back. Topical fluralaner should be applied every 12 weeks unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.

Can I bathe my pet after applying topical fluralaner?

It is advised to wait at least three days after applying topical fluralaner before bathing your pet.

What if I forget to give my pet a scheduled dose?

Give the missed dose as soon as you remember and start a new dosing schedule. For example, if you forgot to give your pet his/her dose on June 1 and remember on June 18, give the dose on June 18 and schedule the next dose for July 18 or September 18, depending on your veterinarian's instructions. Do not give your pet two doses at once.

Are there any potential side effects from fluralaner?

Most pets have very few side effects from fluralaner, provided it is given according to label recommendations and at the prescribed interval (or for off-label use, according to your veterinarian’s directions). Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, or flaky skin. More serious side effects include muscle tremors, seizures, incoordination, or severe upset stomach. If you observe any abnormal signs, contact your veterinarian. At that time, make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other medications or supplements that you are giving to your pet.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Fluralaner should be used with caution in pets with a history of seizures. The three-month formulation of fluralaner should not be used in puppies or kittens under six months of age. Fluralaner should not be used in puppies weighing less than 2 kg (4.4 lb) or in kittens weighing less than 1.2 kg (2.6 lb). Use cautiously in breeding, pregnant, or lactating animals.

Are there any drug interactions that I should be aware of?

At this time, there are no known drug interactions reported with fluralaner. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

There is no specific monitoring required for pets receiving fluralaner. Monitor for efficacy and for side effects. If it is used for demodectic mange, your veterinarian will likely monitor skin scrapings.

How do I store fluralaner?

Store fluralaner-based products in the original packaging at room temperature (less than 30°C or 86°F for tablets or less than 25°C or 77°F for the topical solution), protected from heat and moisture. Keep away from sources of heat, sparks, and open flames.

What should I do in case of an emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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