cat laying on its side looking at camera

Maximizing Periods of Ectoparasite Protection with Bravecto® (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats

April 2022 by Dr. Joel Sailor

Are your feline patients protected against fleas and ticks all year round? Of course, you recommend year-round protection. But how many clients actually purchase 12 months of protection? How many administer it as directed? And what are the implications if the answer to either of these questions is “less than 100%?”

As veterinarians, we know that year-round protection against fleas and ticks is best medicine. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that cats be treated year-round for their entire lives with effective flea and tick control products, to prevent infestations on the pet and to reduce the number of parasites in the pet’s environment.1

We also know that many of our clients, while having the best of intentions when it comes to protecting their pets, don’t always administer ectoparasiticides according to the label directions. They may administer a dose later than recommended or fail to give it entirely. Any gap between the end of one dose’s effective period and the administration of the next dose of ectoparasiticide creates corresponding gaps in their cat’s protection.


Why worry about the ectoparasiticide gap?

Reducing these protection gaps makes good medical sense. Beyond the obvious reasons like pet discomfort, hypersensitivity reactions, bite-induced irritation, and the owner’s revulsion when finding fleas or ticks on their pet, both fleas and ticks are vectors for other disease agents.

Fleas can transmit Bartonella spp. and Rickettsia felis, which are zoonotic, as well as other diseases. Ticks can transmit Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, Borrelia burgdorferi and other pathogens which can cause disease in cats or their owners.

The strategies we use to minimize these gaps can make the difference between sick and healthy pets and their families. A simple way to decrease dosing gaps is to prescribe a long-acting ectoparasiticide, rather than requiring one monthly administration. Reducing the number of doses pet owners must apply decreases the potential for gaps in protection throughout the year. With up to 12 weeks* of protection against fleas and ticks, BRAVECTO® Topical Solution for Cats can help you reduce the gaps in your feline patients’ protection.

New data shows a difference

A recent study2 evaluated purchase records for 114,853 cat owners from 671 clinics over two and a half years to determine how many months of ectoparasiticide protection their owners purchased. When the numbers and dates of doses purchased did not always indicate a full 12 months of protection, the authors then calculated the potential parasite protection gaps.2

The numbers are enlightening, and they show how recommending BRAVECTO Topical Solution can reduce the coverage gap these cats experience.

The data showed that cat owners purchased more total months of protection for the average cat with BRAVECTO Topical Solution than with FRONTLINE® Gold for Cats or Advantage® II. According to another study, over the course of a year, cats whose owners use BRAVECTO Topical Solution will, on average, be protected 17% longer than those whose owners use FRONTLINE Gold for Cats (fipronil/s-methoprene/pyriproxyfen), and an astonishing 50% longer than those whose owners use Advantage II (imidacloprid/pyriproxyfen).3

The study also determined that when cat owners purchase one dose at a time, they do not normally purchase the next dose in time to maintain the original dosing schedule. In fact, the time between the end of protection from the first dose and purchase of the second dose is as much as three weeks less for BRAVECTO Topical Solution than for three monthly products: FRONTLINE Gold for Cats, Advantage II, and REVOLUTION® (selamectin).

The delay between the end of efficacy of the first dose and the time to purchasing the next dose is called the purchase gap, and it coincides with the coverage gap. The purchasing gap reduces the amount of time in a given 52-week period for which cats are actually protected against fleas and ticks. According to this study, cats on BRAVECTO Topical Solution were protected, on average, for 54% of the 52 weeks. None of the three monthly comparator products come close to this.

Even for cat owners who purchase just one dose per year, the 12 weeks* of protection from a single dose of BRAVECTO Topical Solution provides up to three times the duration of protection than does a single dose of 1 of the monthly products.

BRAVECTO Topical Solution in the real world

What does all this data mean for your patients? Your clients’ purchase patterns are probably quite similar to those of the cat owners in this study.

First, consider the client who buys two doses at a time: Mr. Schuman and his Norwegian Forest cat, Figaro. Mr. Schuman purchases two tubes of a monthly ectoparasiticide at the end of March, providing Figaro with up to two months of protection. To avoid any gaps in protection, he should purchase two more tubes no later than the end of May.

Mr. Schuman has a busy year doesn’t buy any the next two doses until the end of November. Although Mr. Schuman purchased four doses (four months of protection) this year, his purchasing gap leaves Figaro with a six-month protection gap (May through November).

Now consider the same scenario with BRAVECTO Topical Solution. Mr. Schuman purchases two tubes of BRAVECTO Topical Solution in March, providing Figaro with almost six months of protection, particularly during the critical summer months. To avoid any gaps in protection, he should purchase two more tubes no later than the end of September.

Once again Mr. Schuman buys Figaro’s next two doses at the end of November. Because BRAVECTO Topical Solution provides longer protection per dose, Figaro’s ectoparasite protection gap drops to only two months (October and November).

However, many clients buy only one dose at a time. Consider Ms. Liu and Jimmy. When Ms. Liu rescued Jimmy on a rainy, windy night, he was covered in fleas, full of intestinal parasites, and had multiple cuterebra larvae. After weeks of hard work and coddling, you and Ms. Liu brought Jimmy back to health; now they are both clinic favorites.

Ms. Liu buys Jimmy ectoparasiticide doses monthly. When she stops by in mid-June to pick up his next dose, you notice that she hasn’t actually purchased a dose since early February. Sheepishly, Ms. Liu admits that time got away from her; the year has been so busy! Jimmy has had one month of flea and tick protection and a protection gap of more than 13 weeks, despite Ms. Liu’s best intentions.

Had Ms. Liu purchased BRAVECTO Topical Solution in February, Jimmy’s first dose would have protected him until the beginning of May. Her next purchase would likely have been sometime in mid-August and protected him into November, for a gap of less than three months between February and November.

By prescribing BRAVECTO Topical Solution, you help Mr. Schuman and Ms. Liu better protect their beloved pets, even when their adherence to your recommendation is less than 100%.

Don’t mind the gap, reduce it!

Cats need our help. They need us to use every possible tool to increase the time in which they’re protected from fleas, ticks, and the diseases they can cause, carry, or transmit.

Their owners need our help too. Every dose we ask them to administer requires remembering to purchase the product initially, remembering how and when to administer it, and remembering to purchase the next dose. We know that even our most devoted cat-owning clients struggle to comply with year-round dosing recommendations.

Every gap between doses is a chance for a flea infestation to start or for a tick to transmit a dangerous disease. With BRAVECTO Topical Solution, cats are automatically covered for more of the year after a single dose. Unlike with the monthly products, once BRAVECTO Topical Solution is administered, no coverage gap can exist between months one and two, or months two and three.

Prescribing BRAVECTO Topical Solution, which requires fewer doses to protect cats for the same period of time, reduces the dosing gap while asking your clients to do less work.

It’s simple. Owners who use BRAVECTO Topical Solution provide their cats with more months of ectoparasiticide protection than owners who purchase other products.2

For more information about BRAVECTO Topical Solution or any of the studies referenced in this article, contact your Merck Professional Services Veterinarian.

*BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Cats kills fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Cats also kills American dog ticks for 8 weeks.

Important Safety Information

The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, hair loss, decreased appetite, lethargy, and scabs/ulcerated lesions. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Cats has not been shown to be effective for 12-weeks’ duration in kittens less than 6 months of age. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Cats is not effective against American dog ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing. For topical use only. Avoid oral ingestion. The safety of BRAVECTO Topical Solution has not been established in breeding, pregnant and lactating cats. Fluralaner is a member of the isoxazoline class. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Neurologic adverse reactions have been reported in cats receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in cats without a history of neurologic disorders. Use with caution in cats with a history of neurologic disorders.


1 Fleas. Companion Animal Parasite Council website. Published September 19, 2017. Accessed February 4, 2022.

2 Lavan R, Normile D, Husain I, Singh A, Heaney K. Analysis of gaps in feline ectoparasiticide purchases from veterinary clinics in the United States. Parasit Vectors. 2021;14:264.

3 Lavan R, Armstrong A, Normile D, Vaala W. Adherence to veterinary recommendations for ectoparasiticides purchased by cat owners in the USA. Parasit Vectors. 2020;13:541.

About the author

Dr. Joel Sailor meet the team

Joel Sailor

Sr. Professional Services Veterinarian
Corporate and Strategic Accounts, National