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Facts about fleas

The world is host to over 2,000 species of flea, and they’re a problem almost everywhere. Most common is Ctenocephalides felis, the "cat flea". Despite its name, the cat flea affects both dogs and cats, and wildlife such as possums - and can be unpleasant for pet owners, too.

When a flea jumps onto a pet, it will start feeding within 5 minutes and may suck blood for up to 2½ hours. Female fleas are the most voracious, consuming up to 15 times their own body weight in blood. And a single flea can live on a dog or cat for almost 2 months!

Experts in multiplication

Flea infestations can rapidly get out of control. That’s because fleas lay eggs in such large numbers. At a rate of 40 to 50 per day for around 50 days, a single female can produce 2,000 eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae and then develop into pupae.

Huge numbers of newly developed pre-adult fleas can then remain dormant inside pupae or cocoons in homes for weeks to months. Only when conditions are right—a combination of heat, carbon dioxide and movement—will they emerge from these cocoons as young and hungry adult fleas, which will infest pets.

95% of a flea problem lives in the environment, adult fleas only account for 5% of an infestation.

Life cycle of a flea

Click through to learn more about each stage of the flea life cycle.

Flea Eggs


Female fleas lay eggs while on your dog and can produce 40 to 50 eggs a day, leaving them to fall off your dog and all over your home. Each egg can hatch into larvae in as little as 1 to 10 days, and as many as 30% will develop into adults.

Flea Larvae


Flea larvae live in carpets, fabrics, and small crevices in your dog’s environment. They feed on adult flea faeces and organic material they find until they’re ready to develop into pupae.

Tick Nymph


Pupae develop into adult fleas inside tiny cocoons. Here they can stay dormant for long periods and come out in response to heat, carbon dioxide and movement.

Adult Flea

Adult Flea

Once on your pet, adult fleas spend the rest of their lives there, feeding and laying eggs that infest your home within a matter of days.

A threat that’s more than skin-deep

Simple itching caused by fleas can be irritating enough for a dog or cat. But fleas can cause more serious health problems too. Some pets develop severe allergies to flea bites (called flea allergy dermatitis) and develop signs, such as itching, that may last long after the fleas have gone. Fleas are also responsible for transmitting the dog tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) to dogs, cats and even humans. In addition, fleas can spread bacterial diseases too.

Checking for fleas

Most dogs will pick up fleas often throughout their lifetime. Even pets that never go outdoors are at risk from fleas that can find their way into their home.

Getting fleas doesn’t have to be a big deal for owners and their pets, but it is important to catch and stop fleas early, before they multiply and become an even bigger problem. That’s why regularly checking for fleas should be part of routine pet care.

Always keep an eye out

Adult fleas can sometimes be easy to spot, particularly in short and light-coloured fur. They are more difficult to find in dark-haired pets. Also, pets may groom the fleas out before you have a chance to see them, so pets may have fleas, but you may not always see them.

Try parting the coat near the base of the tail using your hands or a flea comb and look for movement. Most fleas grow to about the size of a pinhead and will move or jump when disturbed.

Signs of fleas

Even if you don’t see any fleas, have a look for dark, pepper-like particles on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat. These may be ‘flea dirt’, which are flea droppings.

You can easily confirm this by dabbing some of this material with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. If you see dark reddish brown or orange swirls, this is flea dirt and confirms that the pet has fleas.


Breaking the flea life cycle

If you’ve had a flea infestation in your home, you’ll never want to have one again. To stop repeat infestations, you need to break the flea life cycle once and for all, for a successful attempt at getting rid of fleas.

It’s a sobering thought that for every flea on a dog or cat, there are probably at least nine more in the home environment. Pet owners may think they’ve accomplished getting rid of fleas, only to find a new generation emerging days to weeks after they’ve started treating their pet. This is because most pet owners don’t use insecticides year-round and once a flea infestation has been established it can take up to 8 or more weeks to eradicate it.

To avoid such situations, veterinarians and veterinary nurses should recommend using a flea product all year-round to break the flea life cycle. Every pet in the household should be treated at the same time to make sure the problem is tackled effectively. Choosing a product that kills adult fleas and breaks the flea lifecycle is also important.

Targeting flea hideouts

To reduce the number of flea eggs and larvae in a home:

  • Wash all pet’s bedding in very hot water.
  • Vacuum carpets and furniture to remove eggs and larvae and discard the vacuum cleaner bag.

By targeting all the hideouts at once, you help break the life cycle and keep the pet and house flea-free.


Ticks on dogs

A tick is a small blood-sucking parasite that is related to spiders. In Australia there are many species of ticks, but the single most dangerous tick for pets is the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) which, after attachment and feeding, starts producing a potent toxin that affects the dog's central nervous system and causes progressive paralysis and possible death. The toxin secretion has a specific timing and is associated with major changes in tick salivary glands occurring on the third day (i.e. 72 hours after attachment). Therefore, to prevent the occurrence of fatal paralysis in tick infested dogs, it is critical to kill the ticks within 72 hours post infestation and prior to the onset of clinical signs.

The tick life cycle

Ticks require up to 3 hosts, taking a blood meal from each, to complete their life cycle. Hosts include rodents, birds and small animals (typically for the larval and nymph stages) right up to dogs, cattle, horses and humans for the adult stages. A female tick must be attached and engorged with blood before being impregnated by the male tick – but they are so well adapted that they manage to achieve this relatively easily. A single female tick can lay thousands of eggs!

Life cycle of a paralysis tick

Click through to learn more about each stage of the tick life cycle.

Tick Eggs

Tick Eggs

A single female paralysis tick can lay up to 3,000 eggs at a time.

Tick Larvae


Ticks hatch as six-legged larvae after an incubation period of 40 to 60 days. Larvae search for a blood meal from a host, feed for four to six days, then drop from the host and moult to become an eight-legged nymph.

Tick Nymph


Nymphs require a second blood meal on a host before they can moult again to become an adult.

Tick Adult


Female adults then require a further blood meal of up to ten days before dropping off a host to lay up to 3000 eggs in leaf litter. Male adults will search for females on the host for mating, and to parasitise the females for blood meals. This life cycle takes around a year to complete.

Ticks on dogs

How to check a dog

There is no quick way to check a dog for ticks, as a tick that has had ample time may have burrowed down through the fur to the skin and attached itself.

Ticks are very small before they have started to feed, and are easy to miss without a thorough examination. Once ticks are engorged with blood they are larger and easier to feel and spot.

Dog owners who live on the east coast of Australia should inspect their dog daily for ticks, by running their fingers slowly through the dog’s fur down to skin level, feeling for any bumps. It is important that the entire body is examined. A thorough combing within 4-6 hours of exposure to bush or tall grass can help prevent ticks attaching themselves to a dog.

Removing ticks from dogs

Use tweezers, finger nails or a tick-removing device to grasp the tick as close as possible to the dog's skin, and slowly but firmly pull it away from the skin, trying to keep the tick intact.

If the mouthparts of the tick happen to stay in the skin, they may be gently scratched out with a fingernail. The mouthparts will not inject any more toxin once the body has been removed, but it may cause a local reaction in the skin similar to a splinter.

A Tick
A Tick being pulled out

Tick prevention

No matter how careful you are, ticks may still manage to land on you or your dog because they are extremely well adapted to hide in the environment, detect approaching hosts, and hitch a ride. However, you can help prevent tick attacks by avoiding bushy areas and long grass. If there are ticks around your home create barriers by cutting bands of vegetation short between your lawn and surrounding natural areas, or use mulch and wood chips to create vegetation-free bands at least a few metres wide.

Always check your dog, and yourself, for ticks when you return from areas where you may have been exposed, and dress appropriately in long pants and boots if possible.

As well as physically checking their dog, pet owners living in paralysis tick areas should always use preventative treatment during the tick season.

An engorged female tick.

Identifying ticks

Identifying ticks

New Bravecto

Bravecto (Fluralaner) is an isoxazoline - a new innovative class of parasiticides.

  • Never before used for flea control.
  • No known resistance.
  • Effective against fipronil resistant strains.

Bravecto delivers rapid, consistent and long-lasting efficacy against both fleas and ticks.

Bravecto chewable tablets provide:

  • Treatment and control of Flea (Ctenocephalides felis) infestations for 3 months.
  • Treatment and control of Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) infestations for 4 months.
  • Treatment and control of Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) infestations for 8 weeks.
The range of Bravecto products.

Rapid and consistent flea efficacy1,2


  • Provides effective flea control within 8 hours.1,2
  • Maintains effective control within 8 hours, throughout the 3 month treatment interval.1,2
  • Delivers rapid onset of action to kill newly emerged fleas before they lay eggs.1

Proven performance in Australian conditions

An Australian pen study1 assessing the performance of Bravecto to remove and control artificial infestations of adult cat fleas on dogs, displayed ≥ 99.9% efficacy throughout the 3 month trial.

1. MSD data on file.
2. Taenzler J, Wengenmayer C et al. Onset of activity of Fluralaner (Bravetco™) against Ctenocephalides felis on dogs. Parasites & Vectors (2014) 7:567.

Treats and controls paralysis tick for 4 months

  • To prevent tick paralysis it is critical to kill the ticks within 72 hours and prior to clinical signs.
  • Bravecto provides effective control of pre-existing infestations of paralysis ticks within 24 hours of treatment and controls re-infestations for 4 months.1
  • Bravecto also treats and controls brown dog tick for 8 weeks.
  • In tick season daily searching for and removal of any ticks found is recommended.
  • Due to the systemic nature of action of Bravecto, dead attached ticks can be seen on animals following treatment. These ticks will often appear partially engorged. Dead ticks can be easily removed, as opposed to live ticks, which take some force to dislodge from the skin of the animals.

Bravecto efficacy against paralysis tick

In an Australian study1, Bravecto efficacy against paralysis tick was > 99.2% at 48 hours and 100% at 72 hours at all time-points post treatment for 115 days delivering unmatched, extended protection against paralysis tick from a single oral treatment.

1. MSD data on file.

Reassurance for you and your customers

  • Bravecto can be used in puppies from 8 weeks of age weighing greater than 2kg.
  • Bravecto has been shown to be well tolerated in puppies when tested at up to 5X the highest recommended clinical dose (i.e. 5x56mg = 280mg fluralaner/kg BW) on 3 occasions at 8-weeks intervals.1
  • Bravecto can be used in breeding, pregnant and lactating dogs.1
  • Bravecto is well tolerated in MDR1 gene deficient collies.2
  • During clinical field testing, no interactions between Bravecto and routinely used medicinal products were observed. 1,3,4,5
1. MSD data on file.
2. Walther FM, Allan AJ, Allam MJ et al. Safety of fluralaner, a novel systemic antiparasitic drug, in MDRI(-/-) Collies after oral administration. Parasites & Vectors (2014) 7:86.
3. Rohdich N, Roepke R, Zchiesche E. A randomized, blinded, controlled and multi-centered field study comparing the efficacy and safety of Bravecto™ (fluralaner) against Frontline™ (fipronil) in flea and tick-infested dogs. Parasites & Vectors 2014 7:83.
4. Meadows C, Geurino F and Sun F. A randomized, blinded, controlled USA field study to assess the use of fluralaner tablets in controlling canine flea infestations. Parasites & Vectors (2014) 7:375.
5. Walther FM, Fisara P, Allan MJ et al. Safety of concurrent treatment of dogs with fluralaner (Bravecto™) and milbemycin-oxime-praziquantel. Parasites & Vectors (2014) 7:481.

Easy to give, less to think about

Extending client satisfaction and quality of care can mean better compliance

  • A highly palatable, easy to administer chew - studies show more than 91.7% of dogs accept Bravecto voluntarily.1,2
  • Bravecto's extended protection periods* mean clients have few treatments to remember each year, therefore less to forget.
  • No mess to administer, no liquids to spill or transfer.
  • Full year flea protection in just four sequential doses - protection at every season. Fits easily into gastrointestinal worming programs where treatments occur every 3 months.
1. MSD data on file.
2. Meadows C, Geurino F and Sun F. A randomized, blinded, controlled USA field study to assess the use of fluralaner tablets in controlling canine flea infestations. Parasites & Vectors (2014) 7:375.
* 3 months protection against fleas, 4 months protection against paralysis ticks and 8 weeks protection against brown dog ticks. Refer to label for full claim details.

Simple dosing for increased convenience

  • Within each weight range, a whole tablet must be used. For dogs weighing more than 56kg use a combination of tablets that most closely matches the bodyweight.
  • Administer Bravecto at or around the time of feeding for maximum effectiveness.1
  • In dogs older than 8 weeks, treatment every 8 weeks has been shown to be well tolerated.

Easy to merchandise in single dose packs

Play the Promotional Video
1. Walter FM, Allan MJ, Roepke R and Nuernberger MC. The effect of food on the pharmacokinetics of oral fluralaner in dogs. Parasites & Vectors (2014) 7:84.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What should Bravecto chewable tablets look like when they come out of the package?
Bravecto is a light to dark brown tablet with a smooth or slightly rough surface and circular shape. Some marbling, speckles or both may be visible.

Q. When is it safe for the owner to touch the dog after Bravecto administration?
Bravecto is an oral product so there is no reason to stop touching the dog when treating with Bravecto.

Q. Can I use Bravecto all year-round?
Yes, it is safe to use Bravecto all year-round. Fleas can be a year-round problem indoors and outdoors. Applying Bravecto every 3 months ensures your dog will be protected from fleas throughout the year.

Q. How does Bravecto kill fleas and ticks?
Fluralaner the active ingredient is absorbed systemically. When fleas and ticks commence feeding they will take up fluralaner. Fluralaner causes a dysfunction of the nervous system of fleas and ticks and prevents them from moving and functioning normally. Bravecto provides effective control of fleas on dogs within 8 hours of administration, and provides effective control of pre-existing infestations of paralysis ticks within 24 hours. This efficacy is maintained throughout the treatment period.

Q. Does Bravecto kill fleas before they can lay eggs?
Yes. Bravecto kills newly emerged fleas before they lay eggs and breaks the flea life cycle.

Q. Can dead and attached ticks be found on treated dogs?
Yes. Due to the systemic nature of action of Bravecto, dead attached ticks can still be seen on animals following treatment. These ticks will often appear partially engorged. Dead ticks can be easily removed as opposed to live ticks which take some force to dislodge from the skin of the animals.

Q. Is it necessary to use additional insecticides to control flea stages in the environment? How does Bravecto work to control flea life stages in the environment?
Bravecto provides 3 months flea efficacy, a time period that covers the entire flea life cycle. It is not necessary to use additional insecticides to control flea stages in the environment. Fleas which have fed on a Bravecto treated dog cannot produce a new flea generation, and due to the long duration of efficacy the flea life stages in the environment are also eliminated. Juvenile life stages (eggs, larvae, pupae) which are present in the environment will mature to adult fleas. Once these fleas get on the treated dog to start feeding, they are also killed before they can lay eggs.

Frequently asked questions (continued)

Q. Can Bravecto be used in breeding / pregnant / lactating dogs?
Yes. Bravecto is approved for use on in breeding, pregnant and lactating dogs.

Q. Does Bravecto help manage flea allergy dermatitis?
Yes. Bravecto reduces the incidence of flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) by controlling adult fleas. Bravecto can also be used as part of a treatment strategy for FAD.

Q. Is Bravecto effective against other dog parasites (e.g. mosquitoes / flies / mites / lice / nematodes)?
Activity against other parasites has not been evaluated.

Q. Can I give Bravecto to cats?
Bravecto is not approved for use in cats.

Q. What pack sizes does Bravecto come in?
Bravecto is available in single dose packs, one dose provides 3 months protection against fleas and 4 months protection against paralysis ticks.