- Program is a drug that helps control fleas on dogs and cats.
- Program has several formulations—tablets, an oral liquid, and an injectable solution.
- The injectable formulation of Program is only for use in cats.
- Proper use of Program injection is associated with very few side effects.
What Is Program?
Program is a drug that helps control fleas on dogs and cats. Program is available in three formulations: a tablet that is given monthly with food (to dogs and cats), a liquid that is given monthly in food (to cats), and an injectable formulation for administration every 6 months (to cats).
Why Is It Important to Control Fleas on Cats?
Fleas are more than just a nuisance parasite on cats. Fleas ingest your cat’s blood and can consume tremendous amounts of it on a daily basis. A heavily infested cat can develop severe anemia, a condition in which the body does not have enough blood to carry oxygen and support functioning, possibly causing the cat to become weak and to die. In addition, fleas can transmit diseases and other parasites, such as bartonellosis (cat-scratch disease) and tapeworms, to your cat. Cat-scratch disease and tapeworms can affect humans.
Some cats experience an allergic reaction in response to flea bites—a condition called flea allergy dermatitis. Cats with this allergic condition are severely itchy; the scratching, chewing, licking, and rubbing associated with the intense itching leads to wounds, scabs, hair loss, and infections on the skin.
Even indoor cats are not completely protected from fleas, as other pets (or humans) can bring fleas into the home.
How Does Program Work?
Although adult fleas are relatively easy to see, there are three other stages of the flea life cycle that can be “hidden” on your pet and in the environment. For every adult flea you see, there may be hundreds of eggs, larvae, and pupae that will eventually develop into adult fleas and contribute to an infestation.
The active ingredient in Program (lufenuron) is an insect development inhibitor. Lufenuron prevents flea eggs from developing into adult fleas. When a cat is given a Program injection (or the liquid or chewable tablet), the active ingredient, lufenuron, is absorbed and enters the cat’s bloodstream. When an adult female flea bites a cat that has received Program, lufenuron is deposited into the flea’s eggs, preventing them from developing and hatching.
Although Program does not kill adult fleas, preventing the development of eggs eventually eliminates new generations of fleas in the environment. In this way, Program can successfully control a flea infestation. If there are multiple pets in the home, all pets should be treated with an appropriate product to achieve good flea control. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend the use of a separate product to target adult fleas. Ask your veterinarian about the best way to control fleas for your pets.
How Are Program Injections Given?
Program injections are given every 6 months by your veterinarian. The injectable formulation is only for use in cats and is given just under the skin.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Program Injections?
When administered properly and at label dosages, Program injection is associated with very few side effects. Some cats experience temporary soreness or may develop a small lump at the location where the injection was given. Vomiting, lethargy (tiredness), and appetite loss have also been reported. If your cat experiences any problems after receiving a Program injection, notify your veterinarian.
Controlling fleas is an important part of maintaining your cat’s health. For pet owners who have difficulty medicating their cats or applying a topical (spot-on) flea control product each month, Program injections offer an excellent alternative for achieving long-term flea control. Ask your veterinarian if Program injections are a good choice for your cat.