Questions I Ponder Whilst Scratching

If they can create a medication for my dog that prevents her from being bitten by mosquitoes for three months… why the hell can’t they make the same thing for humans?

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22 Comments

Filed under 02_paul_the_spud

22 responses to “Questions I Ponder Whilst Scratching

  1. Dee

    Good point!

    Additionally, I’ve found that health care for dogs is far superior to my health care.

    I asked my vet one time if she would be my primary care provider, but alas, there are laws against that.

  2. oddjob

    Probably because it won’t pass FDA scrutiny. Unless I’m much mistaken the safety bar is higher for human medications.

  3. oddjob

    (Alternatively, it has something to do with canine physiology that human physiology lacks. Of course, both answers are simultaneously possible, too.)

  4. Very simple: Humans pay money, not dogs. Companies make more money if you have to constantly buy more stuff that has a shorter effective life span.

  5. Paul the Spud

    Not good enough! I want my mosquito medicine!

  6. Whaaat? What is this stuff? I’ve never heard of it! Seriously. I’m totally curious, and I probably won’t get any sleep if I can’t find out.

  7. Erin M

    Very simple: Humans pay money, not dogs. Companies make more money if you have to constantly buy more stuff that has a shorter effective life span.

    But humans pay money for their dogs’ medications, so I’m not sure how that explains it.

  8. Arkades

    Some compounds safe for humans are toxic for dogs; presumably, the reverse might also be the case. Which means some treatment modalities that work for one species might be ineffective (or even contra-indicated) for others.

  9. Paul the Spud

    Whaaat? What is this stuff? I’ve never heard of it! Seriously. I’m totally curious, and I probably won’t get any sleep if I can’t find out.

    I have a medication that I put on my dog that protects her for three months from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. And, uh, I can’t remember the name of it right now. Duh. (One brand is “Frontline.”)

    Some compounds safe for humans are toxic for dogs; presumably, the reverse might also be the case.

    I’m sure that is the case; I wouldn’t use dog medication on humans… but where’s the human version, dammit? The inventor would make a mint!

    (BTW, I wasn’t entirely serious with this question… but hell, if the product did exist, I’d buy it.)

  10. KarateMonkey

    I believe you may be thinking of Advantix. They’re the ones with the commercials that feature the singing puppy (“There may be bugs on some of your mugs, but there ain’t no bugs on me.” Now it’s going to be stuck in my head all day.) running around and swimming.

    That’s the part that annoys RedSonja becuase the stuff isn’t actually waterproof. That’s one possible reason why there’s not a human version. I imagine no bathing for weeks or months on end would tend to put a damper on sales.

    It’s also worth noting that in addition to fleas, ticks, and mosquitos it will also kill cats. I’m not sure if that’s due to some biological difference or just the fact that cats groom themselves frequently with their tounge, and they’re really good at getting to places a dog can’t.

  11. Dogs and cats have hair all over their bodies (okay, so do some humans, but anyway), and fleas not only bite them, but live and breed on them too. And they jump on and off. The meds we give our dogs, like Frontline, are applied topically but absorbed systemically, so when a new flea jumps on and drinks the animal’s blood, its nervous system gets fucked-up by the Fipronil (it blocks certain receptors that insects, but not mammals, have). That’s why it takes a little while for all the fleas to die: they and their hatched-offspring all have to take their turns drinking from the dog’s newly-medicated bloodstream in order for them to die off completely.

    Anything that becomes systemic and can be detected in the plasma has been through the liver. Animals with weakened livers (i.e. they ate toxic food and recovered, just barely, like one of our dogs, Schnookums), should probably not be taking this type of insect med. Also, when a dog is elderly, one must weigh the liver damage against the misery of being flea-bitten, as well as the medical reality that fleas will cause dreadful anemia in older animals.

    As for human stuff, I fully believe in giving the old liver a break whenever possible, and I don’t personally use any of that DEET stuff on myself and the boys’ skin–not even Deep Woods Off, though they do sometimes spray it on their jeans-legs when they go hiking somewhere that might have deer ticks. You can read more about DEET (the main ingredient) here. Again, you have to weigh the dangers of the insecticide against the dangers of a mosquito bite. Here in FL we have ‘skeeters that are, to quote a local, “big enough to stand flat-footed and assault a turkey”. I lived in very backwoods countries and am used to bugs–I get bitten; I scratch; I move on. Robert goes bananas, though–he takes it as a such a personal assault on his sovreign body, as though the mosquitos have it in for him. He also swells up a bit, to be fair, certainly more than I do.

    Alternatively, you can use citronella candles (for outdoor BBQ’s etc.) and natural stuff like citronella spray–you’ll smell like a lemony lounge lizard, but the bugs won’t bother you as much. Neem-based gels and sprays are good, too. It also helps when one’s partner is warmer: I have a low body temperature–a full degree less than most people–so given the choice, bugs will always jump on Robert first. How he loves that. Stay away from me, popsicle toes…you’re just trying to get the mosquitoes to bite me instead of you.

    Finally, taking a daily B-complex vitamin and/or yeast supposedly makes one’s skin less inviting-tasting to insects. You can mix a little brewers’ yeast into your dog’s food, too, if he’s plagued by fleas.

  12. Misty

    Yeah, Advantix is what we use on our lab. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes. According to the package, it will kill cats because of not being able to metabolize some of the chemical compounds in the medicine.

    And, Paul, when I read the title I thought you mean a different sort of scratching. Where is MY mind? LOL

  13. Dee

    Duh! I never got the inference that the Advantix puppy swimming is supposed to mean that the product is waterproof.

    I thought it was just continuing the play that the puppy was gone to camp and engaging in camp activities like a human kid.

  14. My guess is that the various animal versions (cat, dog) have side effects that wouldn’t be acceptable in human versions – things like infertility or birth defects, skin cancers, allergic reactions, poisoning…

    The other thing is that this stuff basically works by rendering the animal toxic to parasites – it doesn’t prevent the mosquitoes and ticks from biting; it just kills them when they do. The point of Frontline and similar products is to reduce the number of fleas and such on the pet and in your home by killing them and interfering with their reproductive cycle. Rather than preventing bites, the process depends on them.

    I’d love a nontoxic, non-smear-on-myself mosquito repellent too – I’m all over with bites these days – but these things won’t do it for us, even in a human version.

  15. I’d love to have something systemic that kills insects that suck my blood. We’ve got a mostly-controlled infestation of nasty little things and I WANT THEM ALL DEAD.

    Eh, and I’m not at my most stable just now.

  16. B-Complex supplements (Popcorn with lots of Brewer’s Yeast 🙂 ) does help as a systemic for humans. I’m a mosquito magnet, but have found that B-Complex decreases the apparent level of my blood-yumminess.

  17. Rana is correct, these pesticides (which is what Frontline, Advantage, Avantix etc., are, do not repel the insects, they poison them when the insects come into contact with them, or when the bugs drink the animals’ blood.

    The active ingredients in several of them (sorry, I don’t remember which ones, but they are labelled as such) are indeed toxic to cats.

    If you have cats over six weeks old, Revolution (selamectin) is a safe and effective drug as opposed to an insecticide that will prevent/treat heartworms, fleas, ticks, and even several types of intestinal parasites (worms). If your cat has worms, your vet may still suggest a wormer, as Revolution does not work on all species of intestinal worms. Selamectin will also prevent insect eggs from hatching, which minimizes the need for toxic flea bombs, etc. in your house.

    Disclosure: I worked on the Pfizer development team for Revolution, which is how I know this stuff. Also, my own cats and dogs have been on selamectin for years with no ill effects.

    In my experience, selamectin’s immediate, visible insect kill rate is not so fast as some of the insecticides, but the effects last a month, your pet can, in fact, get wet without diminishing the effects, and if you or your kids get the stuff on you, you don’t need to freak out.

    I can say this because I once had almost an entire bottle of the stuff spilled on my foot (with no health consequences for me, thank goddess) due to the confusion of a field investigator on where to send unused test material for destruction, but that is a story for another day. 😉

  18. Paul the Spud

    God, shmod, I want my monkey man!

    Kidding. Thanks for all of the great info, everyone… you’ve given me a lot to consider. And yeah, Advantix is the one we’re using.

    Now that we live on the Chicago river, the mosquito population has become overwhelming. Usually they don’t get inside, but sometimes they do, and… well…

    Like Moria, I just want them DEAD.

  19. Paul the Spud

    And, Paul, when I read the title I thought you mean a different sort of scratching. Where is MY mind? LOL

    LOL! I don’t think I want to know what you were thinking of! This is a FAMILY blog! Take that filth elsewhere! 😉

  20. If we don’t get bitten by mosquitoes, how will the pharmaceutical companies make money. That would get rid of most West Nile and several other mosquito borne illnesses and poor CEOs would lose hundreds of dollars in bonuses

  21. Kate217

    Other mosquito factoids:They are attracted by dark clothing.Ammonia works to neutralize their “venom” and some companies sell “after bite” products made of ammonia or camphor.The amount of (IIRC) carbohydrates in the skin attract them, which is part of the reason some people are more targeted than others are (they come from out of state for me and leave huge welts behind).

    I just bought some “Lemongrass and Eucalyptus” repellant. I’ll be testing its effectiveness near the water tomorrow.

  22. Kate217

    Poopy! I don’t know why the bullets showed up in the preview and not in the post. Sorry about the crappy formatting.

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