Last updated 26/01/2024
Get to know all the ins and outs about what flea and worming treatments are available for your pet, so you can make the best decision for them and learn how do flea and worming products differ!
There are a whole range of active ingredients that might be included in a product sold to control fleas and worms in cats and dogs. Each targets a specific set of parasites, often in slightly different ways. We’ve outlined a few of the common active ingredients, and how they work below.
A common active ingredient found in flea treatments such as Imidaflea, Imidacloprid works by blocking parts of the nervous system of the creepy crawlies, causing paralysis and death.
Found in many flea treatments, including Fipnil, this active ingredient also attacks the nervous system of the parasite but in a different way to Imidacloprid, causing overstimulation and death.
Doesn’t affect adult fleas but is absorbed by flea eggs and the immature life stages, preventing them developing into adults. This helps control the overall flea population longer term.
Commonly used to target roundworms in the gut in worming products, such as Ridaworm and Prazitel Plus. Attacks worms in the gut by paralysing them, so they relax their grip on the gut wall and either get digested or expelled in the poo.
Effective against tapeworms, praziquantel also causes paralysis of the parasite, so they release themselves from the gut wall, and the dog’s body removes them. Commonly found in combination worming products that are designed to tackle both roundworms and tapeworms in the gut, such as Ridaworm and Prazitel Plus.
Sometimes included in combination worming treatments such as Ridaworm and Prazitel Plus to tackle roundworms, including hookworms and whipworms,. This ingredient is transformed to the active ingredient fenbendazole inside the pet’s body which then acts to block the parasite’s ability to produce energy, so it ultimately starves and dies.
Over the past decades, constant innovation in the pet parasite protection market means that these days, pet owners can take their pick from a variety of effective oral and topical flea and worming products.
Typically, tablets are used for internal parasites such as worms, and topical products for external parasites such as fleas. However, combination products available in both formulations are now available, so it really can come down to personal preference.
It is most important to make sure that whatever product or products you choose will provide complete parasite cover for your pet and is a VMD-registered ‘veterinary medicine’ product, to ensure efficacy and safety. We have more on this in ‘Choosing the right flea and wormer products’.
All animal medicines, including parasite products, are classified for sale by the VMD. These classifications affect who is allowed to sell them.
Prescription only medicines (which is what POM stands for) may only be sold by vets. Most new active ingredients or formulations are first released as POM-V, to ensure that they are used responsibly and correctly.
These products may only be sold by a vet, pharmacist or suitably qualified person (SQPs). Large pet shops often employ SQPs, so are able to sell these products, with appropriate guidance. Some POM-V products are reclassified as POM-VPS over time.
These products are authorised veterinary medicines (which is what AVM stands for) but are deemed safe to sell without specific guidance. For example, they may contain non-prescription active ingredients or their active ingredients may be at a lower concentration than POM-V or VPS alternatives.