Sentinel for Dogs And Cats

Lufeneron is an oral injectable medication for dogs and cats which interferes with the development of juvenile fleas, leading to their death. Program and Sentinel use the drug to break the life cycle of the flea at the egg stage and safely control flea populations on pets.

Lufenuron is an insect development inhibitor (IDI) which interferes with the production of chitin, an element of the insect's outer skeleton and the shell of eggs. It is also part of the 'egg tooth' which flea larvae use to break out of their egg - without this they cannot hatch. Without a shell, eggs dry out and without a skeleton, larvae also dry out and have no structural support.

Available products containing lufenuron are Program flavor tabs for cats and dogs, Program suspension for cats, and Sentinel flavor tabs for dogs, which are all dosed once per month. There is also an injectable form of Program for cats which can be administered by your veterinarian.

Program contains only lufenuron and only controls fleas, while Sentinel combines lufenuron with milbemycin oxime and controls fleas, prevents heartworm disease, controls adult hookworms and removes and controls adult roundworms and whipwoms in dogs.

When administered, the lufenuron is absorbed into the bloodstream and deposited into fatty tissue, then slowly released back into the bloodstream for at least 32 days after oral dosing. The injectable option is effective for about six months.

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As fleas develop they go through a metamorphosis (like caterpillars becoming butterflies). Fleas start out as eggs, then hatch to become larvae, molt to nymphs and then molt again to adult fleas.

Adult fleas ingest lufenuron when they bite your pet, but are not affected by it. However, the eggs they lay are malformed and within seven days of lufeneron being fed to an animal, virtually 100 per cent of eggs fail to hatch. Of those few which do hatch, the larval stages fail to develop.

In addition, lufenuron is excreted in the feces of adult fleas which have fed upon treated animals. When the feces drops onto the carpet and is consumed by developing larvae, it prevents them completing their molt, thus breaking the flea life cycle.

In order for Program to be effective as a sole flea control agent, all animals in the house must be treated. If one animal is left untreated, a flea simply needs to transfer to this pet and feed for three days and the effect of prior feeding on a Program-treated pet is completely lost.

"As the product does not kill adult fleas, it may initially take some time to get fleas under control. They will continue to emerge from cocoons for 30 to 60 days after treatment has commenced; even longer in cooler areas."

As the product does not kill adult fleas, it may initially take some time to get fleas under control. They will continue to emerge from cocoons for 30 to 60 days after treatment has commenced; even longer in cooler areas.

Novartis, the manufacturer, suggests that during the first four to six weeks of treatment it may be necessary to use the product in conjunction with another which effectively kills adult fleas. After this time, if the animals go outside or mix with other pets, they will still be able to pick up adult fleas, but these will not be able to produce viable offspring.

Program and Sentinel must be administered with a full meal to maximize absorption of the drug. It is completely absorbed in the stomach within three hours, with 95 per cent of the product deposited into body fat within 24 hours and 100 per cent within 48 hours. It then releases slowly back into the bloodstream at therapeutic levels for 32 days.

Novartis suggests that pets which always have food available to graze on should have their food removed for the first half of the day on which the medication is to be administered, then fed a single meal with the tablet to ensure that a sufficiently-sized meal is consumed so that absorption will be adequate to ensure full efficacy. Program suspension should be mixed in a small amount of wet food, while the tablets can be given whole, crushed or mixed in food.

In trials, Program provided 99 per cent control of flea egg development for 30 days following a single dose application. After six months of treatment, the mean number of fleas on Program-treated dogs was four, compared with 230 on untreated dogs.

Cats require three times the dog dose of lufenuron for full efficacy.

As mammals do not have chitin, Lufeneron has no effect at all on dogs, cats or humans. The drug is extremely safe. It has no interactions with other medications and can be used safely in older animals with kidney or liver damage, as well as those with diabetes, as it is not metabolized by the pet's body but excreted in the same form as it was consumed. The product does not accumulate in pets so it cannot cause any toxic effects.

Lufenuron is safe to use in breeding animals, male and female, and pregnant and in lactating females. Even at three times the recommended dose rate, no adverse effects on the young were seen. In fact, lufenuron crosses into the milk and when consumed by the pups or kittens, is absorbed into their blood stream and actually treats any fleas which bite the young animals.

"Cats require three times the dog dose of lufenuron for full efficacy."

In a chronic study, dogs were dosed at up to 10 times the recommended dose for three consecutive days each month for 10 months, with no ill-effects. Eight-week-old puppies were dosed at up to 20 times the recommended level with no adverse treatment-related effects being observed.

Rarely, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite is seen post-treatment, but this is normally mild and transient. Depression and lethargy, itchy skin and breathing problems (the latter in cats) have also been reported, but are most likely an allergy to the product, as is possible with any drug.

Feeding advce
Novartis suggests mixing the suspension into a number of foods including:
  • tuna oil
  • whipped cream
  • canned cat food
  • clam juice
  • devilled ham
  • sardine oil
  • tuna water
  • brown gravy
  • and chicken broth

Puppies and kittens can be treated from four weeks of age with Program tablets, and the suspension can be used in kittens from six weeks of age. Sentinel can be used in puppies from four weeks of age and 2lb in weight.

Program flavor tabs should be dosed once per month with a full meal. They can be given directly or crushed or mixed into food. Program suspension should be mixed into two tablespoons of wet food, followed by a a full meal.

Please consult your veterinarian to discuss the most appropriate flea and tick control for your pet.

Sentinel Flavor Tabs for Dogs Product information, Novartis. Program Flavor Tabs for Dogs Product information, Novartis.
Program Flavor Tabs for Cats Product information, Novartis.
Program Suspension Product information, Novartis.
Freedom of Information Summary. NADA 141-062 Program Cat flavor tabs. US Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Program , Sentinel and "flavor tabs" are registered trademarks of Novartis AG.