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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Activyl and Activyl Tick Plus – kills fleas, ticks, and probably ants too!

activyl

“If you were a pet, you wouldn’t want fleas” – Get it? (Activyl’s ad campaign is a bit of a stretch, if you ask me)

Merck Animal Health has announced a new flea +/- tick drug called Activyl.

Activyl is a topical flea prevention product like Advantage or Frontline, but with some extra super-fancy features.

The active ingredient in Activyl is a new chemical called indoxacarb (commonly used in ant traps, hence the snappy title to this blog post). Indoxacarb is classified as a non-organophoshorous oxadiazine insecticide.

What’s with the name Activyl anyway? Merck wants you to know that indoxacarb doesn’t kill bugs until it gets “bioactivated” – once the insect eats the indoxacarb, enzymes inside the insect convert the indoxacarb into this stuff called IN-JT333/DCJW, that disrupts insect nerve pathways causing rapid paralysis and insect death.

Indoxacarb is relatively harmless in people and pets, because mammals are lousy at converting indoxacarb into IN-JT333/DCJW.

Activyl / indoxacarb also possesses both larvicidal and ovicidal activity, meaning it treats all life stages of the flea and breaks the entire flea life cycle, helping with environmental flea control. No additional insect growth regulators are required.

Is Activyl toxic to dogs or cats?

This is always my biggest concern with a new drug on the market, and I’m pleased to report Activyl is pretty darn NON-toxic.

According to the EPA, Indoxacarb has moderate to low acute and chronic toxicity and does not cause mutagenic, carcinogenic, developmental, or reproductive effects in any mammal species tested. The EPA also noticed No Observable Adverse Effects of indoxacarb even at 5.0mg/kg orally for 90 days. (hemolytic anemia was noted at 19mg/kg). (European studies report indoxacarb’s No Observable Adverse Effects dose in male dogs is lower, 2.0mg/kg)

Skin irritation appears to be low, and Activyl supposedly dries faster on skin than does Advantage or Frontline, meaning less annoying grease on your pet. Hooray!

Activyl by itself (without the “plus”) has ZERO acaricidal activity, ie: does not kill ticks. That’s why Merck had to add our old friend permethrin to make the “tick plus” in Activyl Tick Plus. (keep away from cats!!!!)

Regarding expected side effects: Again in the European study, in less than 10% of dogs scratching was observed, and very few dogs showed signs of hair loss and itching and one dog showed a cutaneous lesion. In less than 5% of cats adverse effects were observed, consisting of excitation, anorexia, vomiting an excessive salivation (presumably because the cat licked off the drug and it tastes yucky). A local reaction (hair loss) was observed in another cat. Signs resolved with or without therapy.

Shampooing, water immersion or sunlight do not appear to result in a reduced efficacy of Activyl, when flea counts were made after one week.

I found one report of a human who attempted to commit suicide by ingesting indoxacarb (he failed) and toxicity caused methemoglobinemia treated with methylene blue. Presumably if a dog or cat were to ingest enough of this stuff, similar anemia / methemoglobinemia might maybe possibly happen, but that seems unlikely.

Even the anonymous drug-rep grumpsters at CafePharma have nothing negative to say about Activyl, except that it’s mostly just Advantage / K9 Advantix but with a different (and more effective) molecule instead of the imidocloprid found in Advantage.

SO HERE’S MY BOTTOM LINE ABOUT ACTIVYL:

Activyl contains a new chemical indoxacarb, so cases of flea resistance to Frontline or Advantage will do well with this new drug.

Activyl Tick Plus sadly contains the same cat-toxic permethrin that’s present in K9 Advantix, and Vectra 3D. DO NOT APPLY ACTIVYL TICK PLUS TO A CAT, or let your cat groom your dog once Activyl Tick Plus has thoroughly dried on the dog.

Will I switch from my favorite Vectra 3D to Activyl? Probably depends which is cheaper. LOL!

In all seriousness though, I like this stuff, at least on paper.

UPDATE 7-26-12: We got some samples of Activyl today (not Activyl Tick Plus) and although it’s marketed as odorless, there was a distinct cheap-vodka alcohol scent when it was first applied, then as the alcohol (quickly) evaporated, it left a mildly shiny (but not greasy) residue and kind of unpleasant, well, pesticide odor.

Please remember, flea preventives are only effective if applied monthly for 3 consecutive months to all pets in the house. In Indiana, flea preventives should be used all year round. Please contact our office at 317-721-7387 if you have additional questions.

  • http://twitter.com/chiquitarocket chiquita rocket

    since using it longer, how do you like it now?

  • Mollie’s mom

    Thank you for your information on Activyl, I would not switch unless I had more information than an advertisement Do you have any information on the Blue Dog Food controversy?

  • Charlies Mom

    Used this on my dog for the first time 2 weeks ago. Will never use it again. In the places where I applied it, his beautiful silky fur looks like a matted mess that is coated with wax. I can’t even get a brush through it. I tried washing it off and it’s still there. Not only that, my dog now has these little bumps that feel like mosquito bites or hives scattered around his body (most on his sides). The vet said it is probably an allergic reaction and to stop using it. No problem there after seeing what a mess it’s made of his fur, I wouldn’t use it again anyway. I have used Advantage Multi for 5 years and never saw a flea. Now that my vet has a heart worm shot that lasts for 6 months, I wanted to try something that worked for ticks too. The vet had the activyl and suggested I try it. I am not going to us K9 Advantix II which is made by Bayer who makes Advantage and has the same ingredients in it. It also comes with a mosquito repellent. My dog was started on Benedryl yesterday, I hope these bumps go away. He will be going to the vets on Tues. to be checked out. Live and learn!!

    • Charlies mom

      Typo…should say I am NOW going to use K9 Advantix II lol

  • bunyip

    I used Activyl on my cat earlier this week after a vet appt. She did not react well. Immediate lack of appetite, twitchy, obsessive grooming/hair pulling. The next day she was disoriented and couldn’t walk without dragging her legs, restless and panting. We took her to the ER and found out that she was also blind! We wet very scared and thought our pet was dying. The Vet was unaware of any adverse effects for Activyl, but couldn’t find any other underlying cause. She was stable, but still ‘out of it’ & blind when we took her home.

    After talking with a vet friend I decided to give her a bath. 2 minutes after the bath she was almost completely normal. Her symptoms did return when she was dry but gradually got better the next morning. The next day we reported to our Vet who recommended another bath with dish soap (because it is a better degreaser) which would remove any remaining Activyl. 48 hours later and she is almost completely normal again, her lack of appetite is the only symptom that seemingly remains.

    I do think this was a freak reaction but we spent almost $800 on ER and were considering an MRI and all kinds of expensive tests. So readers may want to keep a bath in mind if they suspect an Activyl reaction (our vet initially told us it was unlikely, hence all the tests). We did get a refund for medical costs and are working with the Vet / Merck on the adverse reaction report.

    • Stacy

      We used Activyl on our cat yesterday morning. She seemed initially fine, but soon she started acting weird – wandering around crouched down and feeling her way around with her wiskers and sniffing like she cannot see. After 8 hours we washed the Activyl off with Dawn dish soap and rushed her to the vet. He sent us home and told us to “observe” her. She slept in one place and hardly moved all night. This morning she was still so disoriented and lethargic. We think she cannot see either. She is still eating, but not at all herself. We took her back to the vet this morning and left her there for tests. I think he is going to try an IV. Our cat seems “loaded.” I would never use ACTIVYL again! We do not know if our cat is going to be ok.

      We put it on our other cat too. He slept ALL day and night (not typical for him either). He seems ok today.

    • David_Ermold

      We put Activyl on our cats earlier in the week, and our Siamese has had the same exact reaction you speak of. He would stumble, hunch up his back, freak out running all over the place, and at times he would just jerk around. We took him to the vet and it took 3 days and, like you, $800 to get him under control. He is coming home from the vet right now as I write this note. I should also note that the reaction wasn’t instant. It actually didn’t start until about a day after application. That is a scary thing to think about.

      Our vet had mentioned that Merck would reimburse us for the vet costs, and I was hoping you might be able to give me some direction as to where to start. Our vet also called poison control, and they reported that they had other claims come in after the use of Activyl. We have paperwork stating the cause, we just need direction in order to get them to work with us. To us $800 isn’t small change.

      I feel bad because I’m allergic to flea bites and flea dirt. My vet has signs all over the front of his clinic advertising the stuff. I’m going to ask him to take them down. I hope to hear from you soon, and to everyone else, PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM ACTIVYL. Go with the older tried and true methods. Don’t mess with your animals neurological system.

      • bunyip

        RE: reimbursement – Our Vet was awesome and refunded us the $800 ER bill and the $ spend on the Activyl…after I left a message with the “head of veterinary services” and let them know about our video evidence. We also had a full physical the day before we gave her the meds. Our vet said they would follow up reporting to Merck and request a refund from them too. If your vet is lazy, here is the contact info for Merck:

        800-224-5318 Companion Animal (Dogs, Cats) .
        “To report an adverse reaction, product-related problem, or human exposure, please call Merck Animal Health Technical Services:”

        FYI, they tried to assert that we used the ‘dog flea medication’ on our cat, so be sure to have the box ready just in case, if you don’t have it get a receipt from your vet. Don’t let them give you the run-around. I think these reactions are so severe its probably a class-action waiting to happen. Glad your cat is ok, good luck.

  • Ethan

    i use activil tick plus on my dog, charlie, and the only thing i dnt like is the spot it leaves on the back of her neck after. but after two days i just wash the spotmand it goes away. i have two cats in the household as well and i have to seperate them from the dog for about 24 hours after applying the medication which js notnhard if you do you it at night. i have seen reactions with all types of flea medications working at a vet, but i like activyl for my flea and tick control. and its safe to use with her heartworm meds. im a fan so far :)

  • Holly

    I applied Activyl on my 2year old chi…soon after application she had a terrible reaction, she would lay on her side and jerk…took her to the vet and had to have a 24 hour IV flush….not sure if somehow she licked and got some in her mouth or not…a very scary incident! I’m sticking with Frontline, works just fine.

    • David_Ermold

      Call Merck or have your vet call Merck. They will reimburse you for your
      expenses. It’s the least they can do. I feel they should take it off
      the market. Our vet contacted poison control, and there numerous
      complaints on the product.

      Please report it to Merck. Every instance that this happens is something they must begin to recognize. It is important.

  • sue greece

    My vet applied the Activyl what a mess.Six weeks later even after washing my poor Rotti was still scratching and a horrible residue was still there.

  • Karen Dunaway

    The Activyl didn’t even last 2 weeks on either of my small dogs. Went back to Comfortis.

  • kAT

    my kitten 2.2 lbs used activyl and 3-4 hours later had massive convulsions for the next 12 hours. it was awful to see my little kitten shaking all night. Could not walk, eat. Doing a lot better now, but I will never use that again!

    • David_Ermold

      Call Merck or have your vet call Merck. They will reimburse you for your expenses. It’s the least they can do. I feel they should take it off the market. Our vet contacted poison control, and there numerous complaints on the product.

      Please report it to Merck. Every instance that this happens is something they must begin to recognize.

  • rose talaga

    I have a 35 lb border collie and tried activyl plus for the first and last time. After I put it on her she tried to rub it off her back-then for the next two to three weeks she would whip her head towards her backside like something was there, I would check and nothing there. She did not have a rash-but I feel this is too strong of a chemical and will probably go back to Frontline(even though the ticks have to bite her first) Don’t want to kill my dog!

  • rose talaga

    I have a 35 lb border collie and tried activyl plus for the first and last time. After I put it on her she tried to rub it off her back-then for the next two to three weeks she would whip her head towards her backside like something was there, I would check and nothing there. She did not have a rash-but I feel this is too strong of a chemical and will probably go back to Frontline(even though the ticks have to bite her first) Don’t want to kill my dog!

  • Felicia A Manuel Boduo

    I have used Activyl on my Shichon puppy from day one. No reaction, no ticks and no fleas. Unless you count the dramatic tantrum my doggie has anytime you put something with a smell to it on him! I did find one dead tick trapped in the hair on his back leg once. There is a slight chemically odor and it leave a wet looking spot after it is applied. But other than that, I love it!

  • David_Ermold

    Call Merck or have your vet call Merck. They will reimburse you for your expenses. It’s the least they can do. I feel they should take it off the market. Our vet contacted poison control, and there numerous complaints on the product.

    Please report it to Merck. Every instance that this happens is something they must begin to recognize.

  • David_Ermold

    Call Merck or have your vet call Merck. They will reimburse you for your
    expenses. It’s the least they can do. I feel they should take it off
    the market. Our vet contacted poison control, and there numerous
    complaints on the product.

    Please report it to Merck. Every instance that this happens is something they must begin to recognize. It is important.

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