Advantage (imidacloprid) for Lice

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Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sun Nov 17, 2002 4:12 pm

**Please note this information is based on veterinary experience and usage in cavies by many owners and veterinarians. The article is based on material I've gleaned from many areas, including Bayer, but does not necessarily represent their views. Advantage is extra-label use in cavies, for many reasons explained below.**

Advantage (imidacloprid, Bayer corporation product) is not only effective on fleas for dogs and cats, but it is a safe treatment for lice in cavies. Please note it DOES NOT KILL MITES. Ivermectin is the drug of choice for mites. If you are concerned about mites and lice on a cavy, ivermectin may be used concurrently with Advantage if the ivermectin is given by injection or orally. There is evidence that ivermectin does treat lice if given topically, but it does not have the rate of efficacy that Advantage has.

Advantage is quite safe because it is specific for the flea's nicotinic receptors in the brain. This causes the flea to become paralyzed and not be able to eat, even before it dies. It seems to work in a similar way for lice. It does have a mild effectiveness on ticks, but not 100%. The effectiveness for ticks is close to 50% and it is not labeled for tick control.

I have found it to be extremely effective against lice. A lot of the packaging and marketing for any product has to do with your target audience and funding, among other things. The active ingredient in Advantage is in EPA listing "E," the least toxic of the chemicals (and also the only non-carcinogenic group). It's used in the Agriculture field to spray on food for human consumption, so it doesn't seem as if anyone's doubting its safety. It works only on the outside of the haircoat, in the sebaceous glands surrounding hair follicles. It is not absorbed by the animal. It also helps "clean up" the animal's environment. Dead hair and skin from an animal treated with Advantage will fall off and kill any larvae in the vacinity. No clean-up if fine by me! No spraying, bombing, vacumning, bleaching, washing, etc. One application lasts for 30 days, unless it is washed off first.

Do not settle for imposters. They are toxic and may not work well (or too well, killing the cavy). Frontline IS NOT SAFE for guinea pigs and has a list of side effects and reactions.

This is not licensed for cavies due to money and liability. There are reports and testing that the veterinary community may have access to, but not the general public. Advantage has been tested by Bayer on cavies. Bayer reps are limited to what they can say publicly due to liability issues. If they tell someone that it is fine to use on cavies and one dies--of a non-specific or unproven ailment, the blame will automatically be put on a product. Bayer would be sued and liable for the URI, cancer, or whatever other ailment caused the cavy's death. They would have to pay for attorneys, bad publicity, and testing to disprove the claim. Add this to the fact the cavy market doesn't sell huge amounts of Advantage and it doesn't make any sense to go to the trouble to label it for cavies.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sun Nov 17, 2002 4:36 pm

Dosing and application:

All Advantage (dog, cat, one-pound to 100 pounds) is the same concentration. It is sold in varying package sizes for the ease of the consumer (and safety for those who can't measure things).

The concentration is 91 mgs/ml. The dosage for all animals is also the same: 10 mgs/pound of body weight. For those of you who need the conversion one ml=one cc.

A one-pound cavy needs about 0.1 ml (0.1 cc). I use this dosage for one- or two-pound cavies, but it is safe to use up to 0.2 ml (0.2 cc) on a two pound cavy. I use 1 cc syringes with the needles removed to measure, but it can be approximated safely. About one drop off of the end of a 1 cc syringe is equal to 0.05 cc. Two such drops would be 0.1 cc, which is the average dose for an adult cavy. Advantage is applied topically to the skin of the animal, preferably in a spot where it can't be groomed off by the animal. In cavies, this is usually applied on the bare skin behind each ear (dose can be divided in half and applied to each ear or the entire dose can be applied behind only one ear). Advantage lasts for 30 days unless washed off. Some studies are showing that some Advantage will remain through a bath, but it is not recommended for optimal performance. It may be wise to bathe a cavy before applying Advantage--if the cavy is to be bathed at all (rather than the other way around) but a bath is not necessary for treating with Advantage.

Advantage can be used in weaned cavies. Application to the adults is fine and since Advantage treated animals leave behind Advantage treated hair/dander--the other animals in contact with the treated animal will benefit also. For optimum treatment, all animals in the household should be treated with Advantage.

Availability and storage:

Advantage is sold in many different packaging sizes. I buy the large dog size (for dogs over 55 lbs). It is a 4.0 ml tube, so it will treat up to 40, two-pound cavies. It is also the most economical way to treat a number of cavies, but the smaller sizes will work exactly the same way. Where I live, it costs about $10-14 for a single tube of the largest size from a veterinarian. It is also available OTC in some select pet stores and online or mail-order veterinary supply catalogs.

The extra Advantage can be stored in a dark and cool place in a clean, child-safe and air-tight container. Be careful (we don't want children to accidentally injest it)! It has no expiration date assigned and Bayer states that it is stable for at least 5 years at labeled storage temperatures (normal room temperature) unopened. I use opened Advantage within a year if not exposed to air. A plain (red--no additive) vacutainer from a veterinarian or medical supply may also be used for storage and the Advantage is pulled out with a needle and syringe as needed. It is easy to apply if pulled into a syringe and measured that way.

It will kill most of the adult lice within 12-24 hours. It will continue to work on the cavy and kill the newly hatched lice when they hatch from the nits several weeks later. It does not kill the eggs (nits) or larvae, only the adults. Reapplication is recommended if nits or lice are seen 30 days after the inital application, but it is not always necessary, especially if the animals are not exposed to the lice again.

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Post   » Sun Nov 17, 2002 6:03 pm

From our rep: An animal that has been treated with Advantage can have a bath daily if th owner is nuts enough to do it...and it will not wash off the Advantage. There is one catch, however. It must be done with a soap-free shampoo, such as HyLyt. Any shampoo containing a detergent will remove too many oils from the skin, and therefore, the Advantage. Most people don't bathe their animals this often, so it isn't an issue. As Josephine stated, I would bathe before applying the Advantage (but you don't have to). If you do bathe, wait a couple hours after the bath to apply the Advantage. This gives the animal a chance to dry and that skin to produce a little oil again.

...what, what, what?

Post   » Tue Nov 19, 2002 1:49 pm

We have fleas in the house, I'm treating the cats with Advantage for this. I am presuming that all furry critters in the house more than likely need to be treated, or are fleas more specific than this?

In other words, should I treat my cavies (and the pet rats) for fleas as I treat the cats (as per dosing above)?

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Post   » Tue Nov 19, 2002 4:11 pm

If you haven't already, there's a great article on getting rid of fleas:

I would treat the gps. I don't know anything about rats but imagine they can carry fleas also -- would only guess it would be safe. Perhaps a Google search?

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Nov 19, 2002 7:49 pm

Hmmm... It's O.K. Not great since it lists dangerous and ineffective flea treatments as well. It's also outdated now.

Nurgle, have you heard about Capstar (nitenpyram)? It is great to use with Advantage. It also affects the flea CNS but is a pill that lasts 24 hours and kills almost all the adult fleas on the animals within 2 hours. It's really great to knock-down existing problems. I don't know about dosing in cavies (I wouldn't test on my own), but it is safe for cats and you can get it cheaply OTC. The Advantage or Program is still needed to clean up the environment (hatching fleas and larvae), but it gets you a jump start.

I would treat the cavies if there is an existing infestation. Cat fleas are the most common flea found on dogs and cats and they do like to feed off of humans and other mammals if their meals are being taken away from them. That's why we're moving towards integrative, whole flea prevention and treatment. I use Sentinel (has Program in it), and have been flea free for at least 5 years. It is wonderful.

...what, what, what?

Post   » Tue Nov 19, 2002 8:16 pm

Well, we don't have a bad infestation. The couple of times I've combed and searched CJ, I've only found four or five at a time.

I just don't want it to suddenly explode, and Advantage sounded like the way to go to me from what reading I've done. I don't want bombs or powders around, because Jade is still crawling.

They are indoor cats, and only occasionally go out, on a leash, in our back yard. Never again. Tiger picked up a UTI, and these d***ed fleas, on the last outing.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Nov 19, 2002 8:24 pm

Great. Sounds like Advantage is the way to go.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Nov 24, 2002 1:28 am

Capstar also works wonderfully. The vet gave our new rescue doggie one of the pills and I was amazed at how quickly all the fleas died and were no longer evident.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sun Nov 24, 2002 2:04 pm

It's great to start with, as I stated. The only problem is it does nothing for the eggs and larvae (about 90% of the flea population) and lasts for only 24 hours. It is usually recommended to start with Capstar and follow up with another medication such as Advantage to continue killing fleas.

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Post   » Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:25 pm

LaNaeh, your question is moved to the Medical forum (you can find it there). This forum isn't intended for questions.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Nov 17, 2005 2:50 pm

Due to a recent issue, I just wanted to update this thread with another disclaimer and warning.

Advantage (imidicloprid) is very effective and safe at treating lice. It is available in most developed countries world-wide. Bayer, the company that makes Advantage, has also developed and advertised many other products that contain imidicloprid PLUS other additives. These additives are potentially life-threatening to cavies and have been implicated in toxicities in other species (namely certain horses and cats). These combination products should only be used on the species directed--dogs.

It is impossible for me to get all the information from every single country on these other products. It would also be exhausting to keep track of the times they go on the market and sometimes are recalled. This information I have has been gleaned from Bayer in the US and most of the info applies to the US division.

Two of the products I am aware of that SHOULD NOT BE USED ON CAVIES are AdvanTix (imidicloprid + permethrin, available in the US) and AdvantageMulti (imidicloprid + moxidectin, available in Canada and may have already been pulled off the market). There are also many other companies that have tried to market their products similarly to Advantage to lure unsuspecting buyers into purchasing a lesser quality and potentially dangerous product.

***Please make sure you have Advantage (imidicloprid) only prior to using the product on your pets!***

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:58 pm


Bayer is planning to release imidacloprid (Advantage) with moxidectin added this year. From what I've found, they will be calling it Advocate in the US. It has been available in Canada for some time as Advantage Multi.

They are marketing it aggressively against the superproduct Revolution (selamectin), since it prevents heartworm disease, sarcoptic mange, etc. as does this new product. Please use great caution as moxidectin has been implicated in many toxicities in the past in other species and was pulled off the shelves as ProHeart6 (the injectable heartworm prevention for dogs) a few years back.

If you will be using imidacloprid for lice in cavies, please make sure you have the PLAIN Advantage and not the new product.

Bayer Website Press Release

GL Alert Thread '07

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:28 pm

For those in the UK.

Advantage 40 is the one to use, it contains imidacloprid.

NOT Advocate - this also contains moxidectin and
NOT Advantix - this also contains permethrin,
NOT Xenex - this contains only permethrin.

User avatar

Post   » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:16 pm

For those in the US, the new product is being marketed as AdvantageMulti, the same as in Canada.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:13 pm

Another update, Bayer has updated their products with the addition of an IGR called pyriproxyfen. ... or-pets.aspx

At this point, since Advantage is no longer plain imidicloprid, and until further studies are done with pyriproxyfen in small animals, I NO LONGER RECOMMEND ADVANTAGE used in this way for lice. There are other, more reliable products, and ivermectin's safety record endures the test of time.

You can quote me

Post   » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:04 pm

What's an IGR?

Edit: I apologize to Jo and Lynx -- we're not supposed to actually post on threads in here. I'm sorry. Lynx, please delete if appropriate.

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