An ideal choice for Flea Protection
is an FDA-approved, chewable, beef-flavored tablet that kills fleas and prevents flea infestations on dogs and cats for a full month. AcuGuard
is a prescription product only available from your veterinarian.
Here are just a few of the features that make Vethical AcuGuard
an ideal choice for convenient flea protection:
- Beef-flavored, palatable, chewable tablet
- Easy to give with no mess
- Starts to kill fleas in 30 minutes
- Lasts a full month
- Kills fleas before they can lay eggs
- Approved by the FDA
- Demonstrated safe for dogs and cats 14 weeks and older
- Dogs 3.3 lbs body weight and greater
- Cats 2 lbs body weight and greater
Vethical AcuGuard offers proven flea protection plus these family-friendly features
Along with fast-acting, month-long flea protection, Vethical AcuGuard
offers these additional benefits:
- With Vethical AcuGuard, you can play with your pet immediately after treatment. No need to isolate pets. Just treat and play.
- Vethical AcuGuard won't stain carpeting, upholstery or clothing.
- Vethical AcuGuard can't be rubbed or shaken off.
Protect Your Dog and Cat From Fleas
Fleas can be a major problem for dogs, cats and their owners. Your pet may be exposed to these blood-sucking parasites anywhere: in your own backyard, when you are on walks or even in your own home.
- Each female flea can produce 40 to 50 eggs a day, up to 2,000 in their lifetime
- Even a few fleas can turn into a major infestation in a matter of days
Only Vethical AcuGuard offers you all of these benefits in a single product:
- Fast, month-long flea protection
- Starts killing fleas within 30 minutes
- Lasts a full month
- Kills fleas before they can lay eggs
- The convenience of a chewable, beef-flavored tablet
Thanks to the fact that Vethical AcuGuard
comes in beef-flavored, chewable tablets, it's one of the most convenient flea products on the market today.
- Administer Vethical AcuGuard chewable tablets once a month with food for maximum effectiveness.
- If necessary, Vethical AcuGuard may be administered like other tablet medications.
- Administer the correct dose of Vethical AcuGuard as prescribed by your veterinarian based on your pet's body weight.
- For best results, and in areas where fleas are common year-round, monthly treatment with Vethical AcuGuard should continue the entire year without interruption. Ask your veterinarian about your pet's specific needs.
- To minimize the likelihood of flea reinfestation, treat all animals in your household with an approved flea product.
The active ingredient in Vethical AcuGuard
is spinosad. When ingested by fleas, spinosad targets the flea's nervous system, causing the flea to show involuntary muscle contraction and tremors. Spinosad-induced excitation leads to flea paralysis and rapid death.
While extremely toxic to fleas, Vethical AcuGuard
is safe for dogs and cats at the label dose. They do not have the same response to Vethical AcuGuard
Because you give Vethical AcuGuard
to your pet orally, you do not have to tolerate the mess and inconvenience of topicals. Vethical AcuGuard
is rapidly absorbed in your pet's bloodstream, where it circulates and protects your pet from flea infestation for a full month. Vethical AcuGuard
begins killing fleas within 30 minutes, so you know your pet is getting fast relief and long-lasting protection.
does not depend on your pet's skin and hair coat to distribute across the body. That's why Vethical AcuGuard
is a great choice for animals with skin problems, as flea protection is vitally important and cannot be compromised.
The introduction of spinosad for use in agriculture resulted in the receipt of a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award1
in 1999 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The award was presented to Dow Agro Sciences LLC in the category of "Designing Safer Chemicals" for the introduction of spinosad as an insect control product for use on crops. This award demonstrates that spinosad as a technology for insect control has a favorable environmental profile. This award is not relevant to the safety and efficacy of Vethical AcuGuard, nor does it confer any environmental benefit to Vethical AcuGuard.
1 The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program, Summary of 1999 Award Entries and Recipients
Vethical AcuGuard (spinosad): Frequently Asked Questions
Vethical AcuGuard Basics
Q: What are Vethical AcuGuard® (spinosad) chewable tablets?
is a chewable, beef-flavored tablet you give to your dog or cat to kill fleas and prevent
flea infestations for one month. Vethical AcuGuard
chewable tablets are recommended for monthly use.
Q: What is spinosad?
Spinosad is the active ingredient in Vethical AcuGuard
. It belongs to a novel class of antiparasitics known as spinosyns, which are derived from a naturally-occurring soil microbe. It works by attacking the nervous system of insects, causing rapid death of adult fleas.
Q: How long does Vethical AcuGuard last?
has demonstrated full effectiveness for an entire month1
Q: When should treatment with Vethical AcuGuard begin?
Treatment with Vethical AcuGuard
chewable tablets can begin at any time of the year. Vethical AcuGuard
is most effective when given one month before fleas become active and monthly dosing is continued through the end of flea season. In areas where fleas are common year-round, monthly treatment with AcuGuard chewable tablets should continue throughout the entire year without interruption. To minimize the likelihood of flea reinfestation, it is important for you to treat all animals in your household with a veterinarian-approved flea protection product.
Q: How long should I use Vethical AcuGuard chewable tablets?
The CAPC – Companion Animal Parasite Council, recommends to administer year-round parasite control with efficacy against fleas. Talk to your veterinarian.
Q: How quickly will Vethical AcuGuard kill fleas?
Spinosad, the active ingredient in Vethical AcuGuard, started to kill fleas within 30 minutes and killed 100% of the fleas within 4 hours in a controlled laboratory study.
Q: Does seeing fleas on my pet mean that the treatment is not working?
kills fleas before they can lay eggs, when used monthly according to the label directions. If, within a month after your pet receives Vethical AcuGuard
, you see fleas on your dog, it is most likely that these are new fleas. These new fleas will be killed before they can produce eggs that contaminate your home. Continued monthly use of Vethical AcuGuard
can prevent any new flea infestations
However, your pet can continue to be exposed to the fleas living in the environment, so all animals in the household should be treated with an approved flea product to help control the flea population. Learn more about controlling flea infestations
Safe Flea Treatment
Q: Is it safe to give my dog or cat Vethical AcuGuard?
has been demonstrated to be safe in healthy dogs and cats when used according to label directions.
Use only for dogs and puppies 14 weeks of age or older and 3.3 lbs of body weight or greater and for cats and kittens 14 weeks of age or
older and 2 lbs of body weight or greater. The safe use of AcuGuard in breeding, pregnant or lactating cats and dogs has not been evaluated.
Q: My pet has allergies. Can he still take Vethical AcuGuard?
contains beef flavoring made from a pork-based protein and hydrolyzed soy. If your pet has an allergy to
pork, another alternative for flea treatment and prevention might need to be considered. Please discuss these options with us.
Q: What side effects might occur with Vethical AcuGuard?
As with any medication, sometimes side effects can occur. For cats: In some cases cats vomited after receiving AcuGuard. If vomiting occurs within one hour of administration, redose with another full dose. Additional adverse reactions observed in studies were lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss and diarrhea. Use with caution with concomitant extra label use of Ivermectin.
For Dogs: The most common adverse reaction reported is vomiting. Other adverse reactions reporting in decreasing order of frequency are:
depression/lethargy, decreased appetite, incoordination,diarrhea, itching, trembling, excessive salivation and seizures. Following concomitant extra-label use of Ivermectin with AcuGuard, some dogs have experienced the following clinical signs: trembling/twitching, salivation/drooling, seizures, ataxia, mydriasis, blindness and disorientation.
Q: How should I give Vethical AcuGuard to my pet?
Give Vethical AcuGuard
with food for maximum effectiveness. Because Vethical AcuGuard
is a beef-flavored, chewable tablet, it can be also be offered as a treat. In fact, up to 90% of dogs accept it freely or in their food1
For more detail, download the Vethical AcuGuard for Dogs
or Vethical AcuGuard for Cats
To help you remember the monthly dosing schedule, enroll in our Home Delivery service. We will deliver your Vethical AcuGuard
one dose at a time every month, when it's time to be administered.
Q: How much food do I have to give my pet when administering the Vethical AcuGuard tablet?
In field trials, dog and cat owners were instructed to give the Vethical AcuGuard
chewable tablet with food. However, the quantity of food was not specified and Vethical AcuGuard
was still effective.
A suggestion might be to give the Vethical AcuGuard
tablet first then feed your pet his/her regularly scheduled meal. For free feeders (dogs or cats who nibble throughout the day), you might take the food away at night, give the Vethical AcuGuard
tablet first in the morning, then put their food back down.
Q: What if I miss a dose of Vethical AcuGuard?
Give your pet his or her regular dose immediately, then resume a regular monthly schedule from there. Download the Vethical AcuGuard for Dogs
or Vethical AcuGuard for Cats
label for more detail.
Q: What if I give more than the prescribed amount of Vethical AcuGuard to my pet?
Contact us if you believe your pet has ingested more than the recommended dose of Vethical AcuGuard
Q: Should I restrict either my pet's activity or any contact with my pet after the tablet is consumed?
No. Since Vethical AcuGuard
is an oral formulation, you may maintain normal activities and interactions with your pet.
Q: Can other medications be given while my pet is taking Vethical AcuGuard?
Yes, Vethical AcuGuard
chewable tablets have been given safely with a wide variety of products and medications. Your veterinarian should be made aware of all products that you administered and/or intend to administer to your pet.
Q: What should I discuss with my veterinarian regarding Vethical AcuGuard for my pet?
Your veterinarian is your pet's healthcare expert and can make the best recommendation for medications for your pet. This includes the prevention, control and/or treatment of parasites such as fleas, heartworms and intestinal parasites that can cause conditions that include flea allergy dermatitis, anemia and heart disease. Key points of your discussion might include the following:
- What dosage options are best for your pet
- What to do if you miss a dose of Vethical AcuGuard
- What other medications you are giving your pet
Fleas are found in every region of the United States. There are over 2,200 flea species worldwide, but by far the most prevalent species infesting dogs and cats in the United States is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis
Depending on where you live and the time of year, your pet can encounter fleas in a variety of locations, including:
- Your yard
- Public parks
- Wooded areas
- Even your own living room
Flea infestations are acquired from a contaminated environment – and areas can become contaminated very quickly! A flea may begin feeding within seconds after emerging from its cocoon. Within 24 hours of taking its first blood meal, a flea can begin laying eggs at a rate of 40 to 50 per day, infesting your entire home.
Contrary to popular belief, most flea infestations are not acquired from other pets. When fleas have found a host (such as a dog or a cat), they stay on that host until the environment becomes inhospitable or they are groomed off, die naturally or killed by treatment with an effective flea product.
The Goals of Flea Control
If you discover fleas:
- Consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is your best source of information on flea control for your pet and your home. Your veterinarian may make specific recommendations.
- Eliminate fleas on your pet. Vethical AcuGuard kills fleas quickly, providing fast relief.
- Eliminate fleas in your home. The most effective means for severe environmental flea infestations is the use of a pest management specialist (exterminator). Steam cleaning (not shampooing) is also extremely effective at killing pre-adult flea stages. Other simple steps include vacuuming frequently and the use of premise sprays, foggers, bombs or aerosols. Launder bedding, blankets, pillows and throws weekly. Treat all pets in the household with an approved flea product.
- Prevent future infestations. Once-monthly Vethical AcuGuard kills fleas before they can lay eggs.
Fleas in the Environment
Female fleas that are living on animals produce eggs that fall from the animal into their surroundings. These eggs usually hatch within a week; larvae then emerge and spin cocoons to become pupae. The entire life cycle can be completed in as little as three weeks, with new adult fleas emerging from the pupae, to jump onto your pet. If conditions such as temperature and humidity aren't perfect for flea development, the time from egg to new adult flea can take as long as two to four months to complete. Because each female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day there is potential for a large buildup of eggs, larvae and pupae, resulting in a constant supply of new adults emerging in the dog's environment.
Regardless of the product used to kill fleas, the pet can continue to be exposed to fleas that live in the environment. When these fleas jump onto the pet, they can feed almost immediately but will be quickly killed by Vethical AcuGuard
If you see fleas on your dog or cat within a month after your pet receives Vethical AcuGuard
chewable tablets, it is most likely these are new fleas that have very recently emerged from pupae and jumped onto the pet. These new fleas will be killed quickly before they can produce eggs that contaminate the environment. Consistent monthly administration of Vethical AcuGuard
should be continued to provide continued protection for your pet against these fleas.
Talk to your veterinarian today about the only oral product that kills adult fleas and lasts for a full month – Vethical AcuGuard
What Are Fleas
What are fleas and why are they so hard to control?
Adult fleas are reddish-brown insects with a body that is compressed from side to side. While visible to the naked eye, they are so small you could line about eight adult fleas end-to-end in 1 inch.
Fleas are wingless, but possess incredible jumping ability. This enables them to easily jump from ground level to “ambush” a pet.
Fleas feed on blood, and female fleas consume about 15 times their body weight each day. This poses a threat of anemia to puppies as well as heavily infested or debilitated adult dogs.
Why do they have to eat so much? They need nourishment to reproduce. In fact, adult female fleas may begin to feed on an animal within minutes of contact and actually begin to lay eggs within 24 hours. These eggs then fall off the dog and become larvae. The larvae turn into pupae which are generally more impervious to flea control products applied to the animal or it's environment.
Adult fleas erupt out of their pupal stage, or cocoon and quickly find a host, such as your dog. Because these pupae can be found almost anywhere, including your own living room, it seems to pet owners that fleas appear out of nowhere.
One myth about fleas is that fleas leave their host regularly. This is rarely the case. Once an adult flea begins feeding, it will die within 24 hours if removed from its food source. So unless the flea population approaches 200 fleas per pet, they don’t “hitchhike’ to other targets. Studies show that even when pets sleep together, fleas generally do not transfer hosts.
Fleas can make you and your pet miserable
Depending on your pet’s age and overall physical condition, fleas can pose a serious threat to its health.
- Fleas can cause severe discomfort for pets, including scratching, chewing, biting and restlessness
- Fleas are the source of flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), the most common veterinary dermatological condition
- Severe flea infestations can cause anemia, especially in puppies, kittens or debilitated adult dogs and cats
- Fleas also can transmit tapeworm infection
In humans, fleas can transmit murine typhus, bartonellosis (the agent causing cat-scratch disease) and bubonic plague. What’s more, eliminating fleas in a house or apartment can be costly and inconvenient, often requiring repeated insecticide treatments.
It helps to know your enemy
To protect your pet and home from fleas, it helps to understand the flea life cycle.
Vethical AcuGuard kills fleas before they can lay eggs
A flea newly emerged from its cocoon (pupa) can begin feeding within seconds and laying eggs within 24 hours after taking its first blood meal. Vethical AcuGuard
begins killing fleas in 30 minutes, before they lay eggs.
The Egg Stage
Adult fleas can begin feeding within seconds of finding a host. They must feed to begin reproduction, and female fleas will begin producing eggs within 24 to 48 hours of taking its first blood meal.
Female fleas can produce 40 to 50 eggs per day, up to 2,000 in their lifetime. The eggs readily fall off the hair into the environment, so you can think of your pet as a flea egg “salt shaker.” Wherever the pet spends the most time is usually where the heaviest flea infestations are found.
The Larval Stage
Larvae hatch from eggs in one to six days given appropriate environmental conditions (a relative humidity between 50 percent and 92 percent). Their principal food is adult flea feces (“flea dirt”).
Flea larvae are small, thin and white, measuring 1 to 2 millimeters in length (about the thickness of a dime). Indoors, flea larvae tend to live deep in carpeting or under furniture. Outside, they develop best in shaded areas or under leaves or similar yard debris. Any area of a yard where a pet seeks shelter from the heat or cold is potentially a great environment for fleas.
The Pupa Stage
A mature larva transforms into a pupa inside a silk cocoon. Under most household conditions, the adult flea will emerge in three to five weeks. However, a fully developed flea can remain inside the cocoon for up to 350 days, a reproductive strategy that enhances the flea’s chance of survival. This helps to explain how a flea infestation can seemingly “explode” out of nowhere, even inside your home.
The Adult Stage
Adults emerging from cocoons can begin feeding immediately if a host is present. They are attracted by body heat, movement and exhaled carbon dioxide.
The flea feeds through a tiny, slender mouth part called the proboscis. Before feeding, it pumps saliva, which contains an anticoagulant, onto the skin. This prevents the blood from clotting, and the protein it contains can cause a severe allergic reaction in the host (flea allergy dermatitis).
Adult fleas can survive throughout the winter on pets as well as wildlife.
How can your VCA veterinarian help you protect your pet from the danger of fleas
Your veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. When talking with your veterinarian about flea protection, your visit may include:
- A thorough examination of your pet to determine the severity and possible sources of any flea infestation
- A review of flea control options, including immediate remedies as well as a long-term flea protection program
- An assessment of your lifestyle and that of your pet’s to determine which flea product is best suited for your specific needs
- A discussion of the need for year-round flea protection
"The Dirt on Fleas: An Educational Video"
Michael Dryden, DVM MS, PhD.
 M.W. Dryden, Integrated Flea Control: Flea Control for the 21st Century; presented at the North American Veterinary Conference, January 2001
 The Merck Veterinary Manual, 9th Edition, pgs. 710-715, 2166
 Brakke Consulting, Inc., The U.S. Flea Control and Heartworm Markets Report, 2006.1
 Elanco pet owner market research, January 2006
 Bowman, Dwight D. Georgi’s Parasitology for Veterinarians, pgs 38-43
 2005 Flea Guidelines, Flea control for dogs and cats, Advanstar Veterinary Healthcare Communications, sponsored by an educational grant from Merial
 CA Sousa: Fleas, Flea Allergy and Flea Control, a review. 1997 Dermatology Online Journal 3(2)
 Michael W. Dryden and Michael K. Rust. 1994. The cat flea: biology, ecology and control. Veterinary Parasitology 52:1-19
Important Safety Information
- The most common adverse reaction reported in clinical trials is vomiting.
- Other adverse reactions were lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss and diarrhea.
- Use with caution with concomitant extra label use of ivermectin.
- The safe use of AcuGuard in breeding, pregnant or lactating cats has not been evaluated. See AcuGuard label for complete safety information.
- Click here for full product label including complete safety information.
- The most common adverse reaction reported is vomiting.
- Other adverse reactions reported in decreasing order of frequency are: depression/lethargy, decreased appetite, incoordination, diarrhea, itching, trembling, excessive salivation and seizures.
- Following concomitant extra label use of ivermectin with Vethical AcuGuard, some dogs have experienced the following clinical signs: trembling/twitching, salivation /drooling, seizures, incoordination, excessive dilation of pupils, blindness and disorientation.
- Post approval experience continues to support the safety of Vethical AcuGuard when used concurrently with heartworm preventatives according to label directions.
- Use with caution in breeding females and dogs with pre-existing epilepsy. The safe use of AcuGuard in breeding males has not been evaluated.
- Click here for full product label including complete safety information.