Capstar

Capstar is a pill for fleas that you can give to both cats and dogs. It's designed to start working within 20-30 minutes, and to kill off 98% of the fleas within five hours. It uses a chemical called Nitenpyram, which damages the nerves of fleas, killing them. If you've got a flea infestation in your yard or house, it is best used along with other flea medicines. It will give you immediate relief - but it's not as good as a long-term solution because it doesn't leave residue in the pet's body. However, if you've just gotten some fleas on your pet and haven't seen them around the house yet, this is the flea medication for you, because it is cheaper and will kill the adults.

   

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The Good:

1) You can use it in conjunction with other flea medicines - it's meant as a tablet that can be applied daily. Most other flea medicines are once every three months, and they are meant to provide long-term protection. It is meant to kill off the fleas currently living on your pet. That means you can give it to the pet, get some immediate relief, and then apply a long-term medicine.

2) There's no chemical residue. A lot of parents are concerned about this - they don't want their kids rubbing onto the chemicals on the dog or cat. Because it is taken orally, there's nothing like that. It also doesn't stay very long in the pet's system.

3) You can use it with some pets that can't use other flea medicines - namely, younger puppies and kittens (as young as four weeks) and pregnant pets.

The Bad:

1) It only kills adult fleas, so eggs and larva are still going to be around if your house or yard are infested. Also, any adult fleas that don't bite your pet in the period after you apply it won't get killed.

2) You'll have to regularly apply it. Because it only works in the short term, as fleas get back on your pet you need to give them another dose to kill them. However, you might be able to ride out a flea infestation if you get two or three weeks worth, by continually killing the adults every few days as they mature.

Does it have side effects?

Novartis, the manufacturer, has issued press releases claiming there are none. Their website says the same thing here and here. I couldn't find mention of any side effects anywhere else, either. That's not a guarantee of course, especially if you don't stick to the dosage - but my guess is that because of the risk of lawsuits they wouldn't make broad statements like that unless they could back it up. If you see something weird, of course, stop giving it to your pet and see the vet.

Where can I get it?

It comes in a couple of different doses, based on the weight of your pet. They are:

For Cats and Dogs 2-25 Pounds - This is the one you want if you have a cat, but also for small dogs.

For Dogs over 25 Pounds - This one is just for the bigger dogs.

Sources and Useful Links:

http://www.ah.novartis.com/products/en/cab/capstar.shtml

http://www.thepetcenter.com/gen/fleB.html

http://www.actorsandothers.com/askthevet.html

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