Message Number: YG1642 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Edward Lipinski
Date: 2001-03-23 18:45:00 UTC
Subject: Re:Upsucking may be too darn late.

Dear Doctor Jerry Murray, Vetrevrtinaryan < No, not right
Vretrynerian < No, not right either; Vrettrynahrrhean

How about 'vet'? OK?

Bitte, Ich stelle diese Fragen wie folgend Dir an. [G.]
Please, I ask you the following question (s).

Herrn Doktor:

With respect to the anti-flea chemical compounds applied to
the skin (fur) of the ferret, assumedly infested with fleas
(Siphonaptera) and/or lice (Mallophagia/Anoplura) and which
compounds are assumedly biochemically altered when absorbed
into the ferret's circulatory system, we would be grateful
indeed that you may describe the mode of action, the
lethality, on the blood sucking parasite.

As is currently our understanding, there may be no immediate
lethality on the blood suckers when using some of the
topically applied anti-flea compounds now advertised (even by
talking dogs in an apparently very high class grooming parlor
[seen recently on TV] but with other advertised compounds
lethality is quite rapid immediately following the ingestion
of host blood, this following the injection by the parasite
of anti-coagulant compounds to ensure that its stylets
('feeding needles') are not clogged by coagulation of its
host's blood inside the feeding stylets.

It is understood that the 'sting' that the ferret feels is
not the insertion of the parasite's 'feeding needles' but
rather the injection of the anit-coagulant fluid that has its
origin in the salivary glands of the parasite. Many of us
have observed the sudden and swift reaction of the ferret to
this 'sting' as a startling convulsive biting reaction to its
skin at the site of its pain.

We humans similarly react to the injection by the mosquito of
its saliva into our skin immediatly prior to the siphoning of
our blood. Almost none of us feel the sticking in of the
mosquito's 'beak', 'proboscus', 'hypo',
or more aptly termed, 'stylus' penetrating our skin. Same for
the flea and louse.

It seems indeed worthy of refraining from using any
thru-the-skin absorbed chemical compounds that for
effectivity requires the parasite to take up the blood of its
host for two reasons. The one reason is to relieve the ferret
of its pain as the parasite's anti-coagulant is squirted into
the ferrets skin and blood, and the second reason (and this
second reason is by far most important) is that the
transmission of parasite induced diseases into the ferret
originates in the salivary glands of the parasite, not in the
upsucking of the ferret's blood.

Hence, the advantage of a topical parasite-killing substance
that prevents the parasite from inserting its stylets in the
first place is of paramount importance. Also, what evidence
is there yet anywhere that by infusing the ferret's blood with
these chemical compounds, especially over time, will that have
a contributory consequnce of yet unknown systemic disease(s)
in the ferret?

Certainly, if we wait for the manufactuers of these chemical
compounds to publish the negative effects of using their
products on ferrets, I think we'll have to wait for some few
minutes beyond 1,000 years. Just think back in history of the
disaster of our widespread, and in retrospect, ignorant use of

As currently understood, getting back to understanding the
mode of action of these chemical compounds, the parasite's
injested blood meal may react with the parasites bodily
functions in at least two of possibly many ways, to wit: 1.) a
neural toxin that inhibits the ability of the parasite to
control in own nerve system, and 2.) an inhibitor of the
hormones that normally would allow maturation of the
parasite's eggs.

Lethality of the former is immediate whereas lethality of the
second is a non-event, but rather is a longer term control
function in so far that the life cycle of the parasite is

Thus, in conclusion of considering the suspected modes of
action of flea/louse control, we may be opting for the 'easy'
way out (seeing no more fleas/lice on the ferret). But in
reality, the serious damage to the ferret may likely already
have been done. This was accomplished by the injection of the
flea's/louse's salivary juices completed before the chemicals
in its circulatory system were sucked up by the parasite.

Lastly, I would think that to be morally straight, i.e.
consider the $$$ lastly, and to uphold the sacrament of
'doing no harm', it may be incumbent upon 'Vretrnaryians'
[Grin] to at least reconsider their endorsements of some
products currently marketed for flea control until 'mo bettah'
controls are established in so far that stylet injection is
inhibited, or even better, prevented.

Thank you for your considerations and important service to our

iksnipiL drawdE, a sdrawkcab tros fo wollef @

Ferret Endowment for Rehabilitation, Research, Education &
Training Society North West Foundation, aka F.E.R.R.E.T.S. NW
Foundation, or more simply FNW Foundation.

On Thu, 22 Mar 2001 16:23:13 EST writes:
Hi Kris,
Defend for dogs is not safe for cats and, I do
not think it is safe for ferrets either. The other big
with Defend is most fleas are resistant to it. If you have
fleas that are not resistant to it then it works ON DOGS
for about 1 week.
It does still work well for ticks ON DOGS, but
again I would not use it on ferrets.
Jerry Murray, DVM

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