Robert Lavan(1*), Rob Armstrong(2), Karen Lipworth(3), Dorothy Normile(2) and Hannah Newbury(4)
1- Outcomes Research, Merck Animal Health, Center for Observational and Real-World Evidence, Merck & Co., Inc, Kenilworth, NJ, USA
2- Merck Animal Health, 2 Giralda Farms, Madison, NJ, 07940, USA
3- MSD Animal Health, Level 1 Building A, 26 Talavera Rd, Sydney, NSW, 2113, Australia
4- MSD Animal Health, Walton Manor, Walton, Milton Keynes, MK7 7AJ, UK
Background: An extended duration flea and tick medication of the isoxazoline class (fluralaner) was introduced in 2014 in the United States and other countries. A survey was developed in 2016 to gauge dog owner adherence with veterinary recommendations around the administration of preventive flea and tick medications. Current fluralaner-using dog owners were also asked to compare their experience with opinions on monthly flea and tick products.
Aim: To survey dog owners who were current users of fluralaner on their opinions, experiences and attitudes around the administration of flea and tick medications to their dogs in light of current veterinarian recommendations.
Methods: Dog owners in the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Australia that gave fluralaner oral chews to their dogs were asked to compare their experience using fluralaner (12-week dosing) and monthly flea and tick medications. The survey responses of dog owners in the UK and Australia were compared against responses to a similar survey conducted in the US in 2017. Surveys were completed by dog owners who were in the clinic for any reason other than a sickness visit. Additionally, veterinarians that prescribed fluralaner from all 3 countries provided their annual flea and tick treatment recommendation for dogs.
Results: A sample of veterinarians from the US, UK and Australia that prescribe fluralaner recommend that dog owners obtain approximately 12 months of flea protection per year and 9-12 months of tick protection per year. A variable proportion of owners (22% - 90%) reported that their dog participates in outdoor and social activities associated with an increased flea and tick exposure risk. A similarly variable proportion of owners reported prior experience of finding fleas (24-50%) or ticks (18%-35%) on their dogs. All participating owners treated their dogs currently with fluralaner and most (68-77%) had previously treated their dog with monthly flea and tick products. The convenience of 12-week dosing and less frequent dosing were the most frequently identified product qualities associated with their choice of an extended effect flea and tick treatment.
Conclusion: Most veterinarians surveyed in this survey recommended year-round use of a flea and tick medication for dogs in the US, UK and Australia. Dog owners recalled the veterinary recommendation for flea and tick prevention as 8-10 months per year. Most dog owners from the clinics in the US, UK and Australia had used shorter-acting (monthly) flea/tick medications previously. The majority of those who currently gave fluralaner doses to their dogs were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the extended duration flea and tick product. Preference for a 12-week duration medication over monthly re-treatment was also high (82-92%) in all three countries and was associated with convenience.
Keywords: Dogs, Ectoparasites, Fluralaner, Preference, Satisfaction.