Frontline and Flea resistance

(33 Posts)
BartonStacey Sat 21-Jan-12 14:26:55

A while ago I noticed that Frontline was no longer killing our cat's fleas. I went to the vet and asked for an alternative, and they said that the reason that Frontline appeared not to be working was most likely that our house was infested, so that new fleas were hopping on straight after the treatment. This didn't sound right to me so I eventually got some Advantage and this seems to be doing the job.

I went back today to get more Advantage and the vet told me the same thing again, that there was no issue with resistance to Frontline, and if it didn't work this was due to "environmental infestation", despite checking the cat for fleas and finding none, and being told that the fleas disappeared once we switched from Frontline to Advantage. He seemed quite certain that fleas do not become resistant to a particular treatment. If this is true I just don't know what the explanation could be.

Have any vets or cat owners on here had experience of this? Is he right and the change of treatment is just a coincidence? Or do we have resistant fleas? (We are in London if that helps.)

girliefriend Sat 21-Jan-12 14:31:33

Your vet is very very wrong!!!

My cat was infested with fleas after using frontline, I was pulling my hair out, we tried the drops on back of his neck and the all over spray neither did anything at all!!!

I went back to the vets nearly in tears and they gave me advantage and some spray stuff for the home, I totally sprayed the flat and washed and hoovered at to within an inch if its life and touch wood have had no further problems.

Themumsnot Sat 21-Jan-12 14:34:50

We had exactly the same experience last year. Cats were infested and Frontline doing nothing. The minute we switched to Advantage the fleas disappeared. Your vet is talking nonsense imo - our vet was emphatic that Frontline was next to useless because fleas had become resistant to it.

BartonStacey Sat 21-Jan-12 14:35:01

Ha! I knew it! What part of the country are you in?

BartonStacey Sat 21-Jan-12 18:00:18

Anyone else? I wouldn't be bothered about it, but they treated me like such an idiot you would think I had suggested that Frontline wasn't working because aliens had come and reprogrammed the fleas' DNA.

girliefriend Sat 21-Jan-12 20:07:43

I am in the Southwest.

Rollergirl1 Sun 22-Jan-12 19:28:16

I am in the south-east. My kitten is 15 weeks and not going out yet so fleas aren't really an issue. However he had his monthly flea treatment a few weeks ago at the vets while he had his vaccinations. I mentioned to the vet about fleas being resistant to Frontline now (as I'd read about it on here) and he whole-heartedly agreed and said that it is next to useless. He gave me a capsule of Advocate to give to our cat and said that they don't use anything other than that nowadays.

girliefriend Sun 22-Jan-12 19:47:17

I tell a lie - just checked and its advocate that we are using as well blush !!!

Pseudonymity Mon 23-Jan-12 09:45:54

My cat was infested with fleas when I got him (from the rescue place), he also had worms. I tried Frontline for 6 months straight and never got rid of the fleas. I would comb him daily and find fleas daily. I eventually switched to Advocate and the fleas were gone almost immediately. I still comb him sometimes and don't find any fleas, even weeks after treatment.

SarahWells1976 Mon 23-Jan-12 11:44:22

I was using Frontline Combo but last time i bought it from my vets it was over £30. Also found that it wasn't that effective. Think i'll give the Advocate a go and see how i get on with it.

Nagoo Mon 23-Jan-12 11:45:04

Frontline doesn't work here either.

I got stronghold. That works. smile

Nagoo Mon 23-Jan-12 11:45:54

Advantage makes my cat froth at the mouth sad

Lizcat Mon 23-Jan-12 18:42:31

The reason the Advantage work is because it kills the live fleas and treats the environment inhibiting the larvae. So actually in using Advantage you did exactly what your vet suggested. 95% of any flea problem is in the environment multiple well structured studies have proven this.
Stronghold as inhibits the larvae so treats the environment too.
Advocate also treats the environment.
We are bored of arguing with you about it not being the environment and just now sell products that treat the pet and the environment. Leaving the adulticide only products in the pet shop.

BartonStacey Mon 23-Jan-12 22:38:49

Oh dear, lizcat, I'm sorry you're bored of arguing with us. So does Frontline not work on the environment? Why then are my vets so keen to sell this and not the others? It's all very confusing.

AngiBolen Mon 23-Jan-12 22:46:48

All I know is Advantage works and Frontline doesn't.

I've heard Advocate isn't too good for some cats/dogs, health wise.

Lizcat Tue 24-Jan-12 08:22:48

Regular frontline only kills adult fleas, frontline combo also treats the environment. I was just defending the poor vet who was correct just the OP did not realise that she had treated the environment hence the problem had resolved.
Advocate is safe in cats and dogs. The product that causes problems is bob martins in cats.

BartonStacey Tue 24-Jan-12 09:28:31

Lizcat, Frontline Combo is the one we were using. I still have half a pack of it here. It worked fine for a long time, then it stopped working. I looked into it, requested Advantage, was initially refused, tried the Frontline again with no success, got some Advantage and we have had no problem since then. I explained all this to the vet when I went to get more supplies last week, as they were keen to prescribe Frontline again, and their view was very much like yours.

So my two questions are, why did the Frontline Combo stop working and the Advantage work, and why is the notion of resistance so outlandish? Do fleas just not become resistant to pesticides?

Lizcat Tue 24-Jan-12 15:09:15

Barton the answer to your question is the devil of the detail. Frontline kills live fleas on the animal within 24 hours of them jumping on to the pet - this was fantastic twenty years ago when it was first launched, however, now we are much less tolerant of seeing any live fleas on our pets.
The drug in advantage (also one of the two drugs in Advocate) kills live fleas within two hours of them jumping on to the pet.
So actually in the main frontline is still working, but in general people's tolerance of seeing live fleas on their pet is much much less.
Personally I rarely prescribe frontline combo now because of the change in people's requirements for their flea control. The same is true of tick products frontline kills the ticks within 48 hours of attachment and people no longer find this acceptable and so I tend to prescribe a repellant that prevents the ticks from attaching.
Disclaimer :- I am very sad and spend many hours reading data sheets and have an evil memory that remembers all this boring detail.
For my cats I use Advocate all year round on beautiful moggy girl who does not stray from my garden and Advocate in the winter and Frontline in the summer for Arrogant posh boy who hunts and gets ticks.

BartonStacey Tue 24-Jan-12 15:14:41

Lizcat, that is interesting about the 2 hour vs 24 hour difference. But in our case, the cat continued to scratch and continued to leave flea dirt well beyond 24 hours - until we switched pesticide in fact. I can assure you I would be quite happy with a 24 hour turnaround.

Are fleas fundamentally different from, say, head lice, in not developing resistance to particular pesticides?

BartonStacey Tue 24-Jan-12 15:22:02

By the way, wrt your quite understandable comments about the "poor vet" and being "bored of arguing with you", I feel I should stress that I didn't actually argue with the vet or the staff at the surgery about this, I just requested a different treatment. I only gave my reasons for wanting a different treatment when they tried to persuade me to take Frontline again.

Is there any particular reason why they would be keen to prescribe this over Advantage or Advocate, eg is it better for the animal?

BartonStacey Tue 24-Jan-12 15:33:03

Should also have said that we had been using Frontline regularly since 2004, and it was only in 2010 that it failed to control the fleas.

Mikocat Tue 24-Jan-12 15:34:02

Frontline stopped working for us too, not longer after it became possible to buy online it seemed!

We use Advocate and it works fine for our two cats.

BartonStacey Wed 25-Jan-12 10:03:20

Was the Frontline that stopped working stuff that you had bought online, Mikocat? Is it possible that it wasn't the real thing?

Mikocat Wed 25-Jan-12 10:16:42

I assume it was the real thing, bought through Amazon. I've heard the same from a lot of people though. Our vet doesn't recommend it any more.

BartonStacey Wed 25-Jan-12 10:37:15

Yes, it seems to be a very common experience - I'm not sure why our vet finds it such a heretical idea.

Lizcat Wed 25-Jan-12 15:57:08

Online there are definately some fake frontlines out there. What I do find is that where you are finding live fleas on the animals you need to Frontline every 4 weeks and use a spray to treat the house to get the initial problem under control. I do find that when there is a high flea population you go even 1 day over the recommended application rate and regardless of which product you use you will get fleas. I stick the stickers on my calender and am religious about the application of the products.
Frontline is a chitin inhibitor that prevents the flea from producing it's exoskeleton, to become resistant they would have to make their exoskeleton by a very different route or make it of something different and there is no evidence from the entomologists of this.
One of my feelings about this is that we have many more soft furnishings in our houses and our cats are allowed to spend much more time on these soft furnishings - a lot more breeding ground for the fleas. I always find that when I chat to clients for whom frontline has not worked there is nearly always some failure in the way the product is used hence why I am very skeptical.
Interestingly there are some generic fipronil (the drug in frontline) products on the market which there have been no complaints about.
I have to say if you are going to rage againist a product which does not work focus on Bob Martins which does not kill the fleas, but does kill the cats.
Personally on my own cats I use Advocate as it cuts in half the number of times a year I have to fight to get a worm tablet down them.

BartonStacey Wed 25-Jan-12 18:46:00

That's interesting Lizcat (although for us of course the mystery remains as to why the Advantage then worked for us with one application).

I don't have anything against Frontline, of course. Why on earth would anyone? I hadn't heard anything about there being a problem with it until I looked it up in exasperation some time after the fleas stopped dying. But I suppose it could be one of those collective internet delusions, like the Mumsnet one where for about 3 days everyone believed Waitrose Bottom Butter to be a miracle face cream...

However (at the risk of doing that Google vs the Medical Profession thing) there do seem to be a lot of mentions of Fipronil resistance - and not just from dissatisfied veterinary customers and impressionable MNers but from, you know, proper researchers, eg here (ticks on Mexican cattle) and here (German cockroaches) and here (actual cat fleas but "more detailed
investigations are needed to establish or reject any
link between the incidence of the mutation and
observed treatment failures with fipronil in domestic
pet populations"). But then again I notice that a couple of researchers on that last one seem to be something to do with Bayer (manufacturers of Advantage) so who knows?

tb Fri 10-Feb-12 18:40:32

Our vet told us that frontline doesn't always work - at least, not against French fleas. Mind you, the nits round here take some killing, too.

Wotnow Wed 15-Feb-12 09:41:06

Just to wade in to the debate.
Bob martins DOG flea treatment kills cats.
It has permetrins in that cats cannot tolerate.

Both advocate and advantage have a newish product in them called imidicloprid which kills flea and stops larvae and eggs devolping further in your envirnmant.
You can buy imidoclprid off the shelf too (sorry to confuse everyone.. but Bob martins now stock a flea treatment with imidocloprid in it now)

The flea life cycle is like a butterfly. we can kill adults on the pets, and prevent the eggs deveolping and stop the larve from changing into pupae/chrylsalis.
However, by the time you first see fleas on your pet, there will be a bunch of pauae/chrylsalis in your house. These can lie for up to a year and beyond and the only way to sort out these is to treat your pets with adult flea killer once a month to get the adults as they hatch.

It's a nightmare tbh.

There are areas of the country I think with reported frontline (fipronil ) respstance, but there is no specific scientific evidence of whether this is the case, or just issues with treating the environment too.

Dee03 Wed 15-Feb-12 09:58:37

I had the same trouble..been using frontline on our cats/dogs from years then it stopped working!!
My vet said it was because the fleas become immune as I've been using it for I brought advantage, trouble is for 4 cats and 2 dogs this wasn't cheap and it didn't work either!! sad
I spoke to my local pet shop and I now buy bob Martin spot on and I use it every 4 weeks on all animals and so far it seems to be working and is so much cheaper!

Wotnow Wed 15-Feb-12 22:47:23

The bob Marin is eithe the same as advantage or permethrin for dogs that could be fatal in the cats.
I'd be very wary tbh...

pippibluestocking Wed 15-Feb-12 22:59:40

My vet is clear that Frontline is longer effective. Lizcat - I may be a little simple but surely if it takes 24 hrs for Frontline to kill fleas, that's ample time for them to hop off and start breeding in the dark crevices of your armchair, surely. Swear by Advantage myself. Had the worst flea infestation of my life when I used Bob Martins rather than Advantage for one month only.

Freshlettice Tue 21-Feb-12 23:27:04

Now that's interesting, I just came onhere to post a thread about Frontline. My vet gave me it last time for both cats and it appears to be next to useless. Before this I always used Stronghold, which worked fine. I only changed because they queried me giving Geoffrey Milbemax as well for tapeworm control. Apparently Stronghold does some worms but not tape. So what should I use now?

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