Capstar for dogs is a prescription medication given to dogs to kill fleas. It is available in a tablet that is given orally to dogs older than four weeks of age that weigh at least two pounds.
How to use Capstar
Give Capstar for dogs exactly as directed by your veterinarian. It can be given as often as once a day to help clear up and prevent flea infestations. The tablet is given orally. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the proper technique for pilling a dog or hide the tablet in food, such as peanut butter or a commercial product intended to conceal a pill.
As the fleas die, most dogs exhibit a temporary phase of vigorous scratching, apparently in response to the dying fleas.
How Capstar works
The active ingredient in Capstar is a compound called nitenpyram. It kills all adults fleas on the dog's body within 30 minutes after administration.
The flea life cycle
Flea infestations begin when one or more adult fleas get on your dog or cat and are then carried inside your house and yard. The fleas consume blood from the pet and lay large numbers of eggs every day for up to three months. The eggs fall off the pet and end up scattered all over the house and yard, where they hatch and gradually transform into adult fleas. In warm, humid conditions, this may only take about three weeks, while under less ideal conditions, it may take several months. The adult fleas then climb onto your pet and start the cycle over again.
In order to break the cycle, the adult fleas need to be killed. Treatment may need to be continued daily for weeks to months to ensure all of the immature fleas present in the home have turned into adult fleas that are killed by the Capstar. Alternatively, the home and yard can be treated with other products to hasten disruption of the infection, while regular Capstar treatment is continued for a few weeks to be sure they have been eradicated.
All pets in the home need to be simultaneously treated with Capstar in order to disrupt the infestation cycle.
Safety of Capstar
Capstar is generally considered to be safe for dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens. Some cats may exhibit a temporary hypersensitive syndrome. In dogs, occasionally side effects such as allergic reactions, vomiting, lethargy, trembling, and panting have been observed. Very rarely, ataxia and overt seizures have occurred. Most side effects have occurred in very young and very small animals.