Monday, August 22, 2016

Veterinarians Can't* Read Minds: Things to Ask About Flea and Tick Prevention #12Bravecto

* I'm just saying mind-reading is not something one learns in vet school, so for the love of your pet's health, don't expect your vet to be a mind-reader. IF, on the off chance your vet says or does something in response to the thing you were thinking, but never said out loud, and it seems freaky to you, it is still 99.9999999999....9999999% NOT mind-reading; that is called a coincidence**.

Corgis in car window with captions about going to the vet

This post is sponsored by BRAVECTO® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about BRAVECTO.  But we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neither Intervet Inc., nor Merck & Co Inc., are responsible for the content of this article and have not written, reviewed, or edited it in any fashion. For more information about BRAVECTO please click here

** There was a freaky coincidence with Lele's (my foster chihuahua) shelter vet and her flea/tick preventative. I'll tell you about it in a bit.


The vet's exam room, waiting...

I can't even say why, for sure. But in reflection, perhaps it was a mix of 1) not wanting to sound dumb, 2) accepting that whatever product the vet suggests first is best, or (in most cases, at least in the last few years, as FDA restrictions have loosened) 3) I'd already purchased a product at the store, over the counter or online (and I didn't even bring up flea/tick prevention during routine checkups).

There have been consequences:

  1. I've wasted lots of money on products that weren't effective (or had a warning that I didn't see before purchasing, like being toxic to cats. #scarytruth).
  2. I missed the "memo" from my vet (had I asked about flea/tick prevention back in 2014 when it came to market) about a new, yummy-tasting chewable for dogs that kills both fleas and ticks for up to 12 weeks* in one dose: BRAVECTO® (Fluralaner).
    * BRAVECTO kills fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks.
You heard me say it when I wrote about both the tick that bit my leg and my 1994 flea infestation from hell: WOOHOO FOR BRAVECTO! (And I've already got one dose for all the dogs, Lele included.)

Why am I excited to be here, again?


So, here's the story. Back in June when I was in Phoenix for BlogPaws, my husband took Lele to see the staff veterinarian at the shelter for which I am fostering her. She'd broken out in a rash that needed to be seen, but her veterinary dermatologist was booked. (Side note: Before the rash necessitated this visit, I had planned to ask the shelter vet for a dose of BRAVECTO for Lele, but had not conveyed that to my husband.) My husband texted me after the appointment to say it was non-eventful (Lele's rash had already begun to resolve, and the vet was amazed at the improvement in Lele's skin and ears since she'd entered foster care). He also mentioned that the vet had given him some medicine that he couldn't remember the name of (he was back at his office already), but it started with B. Oh, and the vet had given instructions not to give the meds to Lele until the product had been cleared with her dermatologist.

Nine days later, after I'd returned home, I was in the kitchen feeding the dogs when I noticed a box of BRAVECTO sitting on the counter. I'd been thinking (and writing) about it so much, though, that it didn't occur to me at first that I HAD NOT PURCHASED ANY BRAVECTO. Ten seconds later, when it did, I was like, why the heck is this box of BRAVECTO sitting on my counter? Then BAM! It hit me: this was the "medicine that started with B" my husband had told me about. The shelter vet had given him a dose of BRAVECTO for Lele. Oh. My. DOG! (But, let me be clear, she did NOT read my mind; I wasn't even there, for heaven's sake! It was simply a freaky coincidence.)

Turns out, Lele's dermatologist needed to clear giving her a chewable because it might have triggered a food allergy. Good thing she did (clear it). The doctor thinks Lele has environmental, not food allergies. (That we're still trying to get a handle on, but that's an update for another time.)

Post humiliating blood draw and ear flushing...

CONFESSION: Had Lele's vets--her health experts--not been in the picture, I probably wouldn't have thought to ask whether her flea and tick preventative could trigger a food allergy. I don't think the possibility would've even crossed my mind.


For starters:
  1. Is it safe for both cats/kittens and dogs? (BRAVECTO is for dogs ONLY, but since it's eaten, there are no risks for my cats to come in contact with toxic chemicals. Not all topical preventatives for dogs are safe for cats to even be around.) 
  2. Does it kill both fleas and ticks, and if so, what species of ticks? I MUST have both, and for all the tick species native to Central Virginia. (BRAVECTO fits this requirement.) 
  3. How long is it effective? (The longer the better; I have the memory of a middle-aged gnat.) Does it stay on if my dogs are soaking wet? (I love that BRAVECTO lasts up to 12 weeks and is impossible to wash off.)
  4. Will it break the lifecycle of the fleas so I don't end up with an infestation? (Yes, for BRAVECTO!)
  5. How long does it take to kill fleas already on my pet? (BRAVECTO starts killing fleas within two hours and kills 100% of fleas within 12 hours of dosing.)
  6. Does it kill anything besides fleas and ticks? Some preventatives kill mites and certain internal parasites, too. (BRAVECTO does not prevent heartworms, so I use a separate heartworm preventative for the dogs.)
  7. Does it repel insects, such as mosquitoes? (BRAVECTO does not, but we try to control mosquito populations in the yard in other ways.)
  8. Are there any new products on the market that might work better than my current choice, considering my pets and lifestyle? (You already know I was ignorant about BRAVECTO 'til recently.) 
And here are a couple others I'd ask my vet at least every couple of years, as applicable:
  1. Are the current over the counter products less safe than those that require a prescription? 
  2. Is the generic product as effective as the name brand?

Box of BRAVECTO in the grass background with text overlay

Have you ever purchased flea/tick preventative without asking your vet about it first? Anything in particular you would ask next time, or add to my list?

BRAVECTO is FDA approved and available only from a veterinarian or clinic. Ask your dog's veterinarian about it today. (Locate a veterinarian or clinic that carries BRAVECTO. P.S. It's accurate; I've used it myself!)

Money-saving tip: Register at My Pet Rewards for deals, such as cash rebates!

For the latest news and promotions, follow BRAVECTO on social: Facebook | Twitter

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information published. However, it remains the responsibility of the readers to familiarize themselves with the product information contained on the USA product label or package. More product information is available here:



  1. Bravecto sounds worth a try
    Lily & Edward

  2. Great post - and great list of things to talk to your vet about!

  3. One, Lele is adorable, just had to throw that in there. Great post and everyone needs to know what preventative care is so important. Sherm has a wicked flea allergy so we also use a monthly product that helps him a lot and this season has been really bad and hasn't let up at all... Thanks for spreading the word about a great product.

  4. Okay, first're hysterical. I LOVE the way you write. Thank you for making me smile today. Secondly, thank you for sharing really helpful information about this product. I have intended on asking our veterinarian about it and have failed to do so on multiple occasions and she has not yet read my mind!

  5. great post. I am lucky in that I have a vet that likes to engage - we are even friends on FB so I often reach out outside of our visits. Brilliant really. Ridiculously lucky I know. for us, we actually ended up going with a tick and flea collar. Montecristo has reacted violently to anything ingestible (throwing up, shaking etc.) or topical (the drops left massive rashes). So - we are stuck with the collar that goes on ONLY when he's going outside and especially on our hikes. The one thing we have added is [putting the drops on his harness for when we sail to deal with sand fleas. Conversation with the vet is important.

  6. I would have never thought about a flea & tick prevention triggering a food allergy. Great questions to ask. My vet is pretty informative and I remember having lots of discussions about preventative care regarding heartworms and other problems, but will talk to him about Bravecto on our next visit.

  7. The service dog group that I am working with now uses Bravecto for their dogs. It is not a product I had used in the past, but it seems to work well. I have had several friends in our area complaining about fleas, but we haven't seen any all summer. And Logan thinks the pills taste pretty yummy !!

  8. I love that people are becoming more aware of their options. Even my husband agrees that we should not 'poison' our pets to prevent fleas and ticks.

    1. ...I should add that my husband normally trusts me to make informed decisions based on the information provided to us by our vet.


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