Because of their convenience, oral dosage forms are an emerging trend in companion animal formulations. Ectoparasiticides represent a significant proportion of the treatments administered to pets, and recently oral formulations have been commercialized. They have to demonstrate high palatability to ensure that they are voluntarily accepted by the animal especially because they are repeatedly offered medications. The present study aimed to compare the dog’s preference between two commercially available oral ectoparasiticide formulations containing either afoxolaner (NexGard®, Merial) or fluralaner (Bravecto®, MSD Animal Health). In two separate experiments, 225 individual dogs (115 and 110 respectively) were offered a choice of afoxolaner or fluralaner chewable tablets. The 225 dogs were given an opportunity to smell both products, and then the products were simultaneously offered to each dog by hand for 4 consecutive days with products offered from alternate hands on each day. Individual consumption and related behaviors were recorded. The same individual offered the products to the dogs throughout each study. The total number of chewable tablets for each formulation was recorded and preference was evaluated as the consumption of a given formulation during more days. A total amount of 797 tablets were consumed by the 225 dogs during the 4 days of the studies. A total of 573 (71.9%) afoxolaner chews and 224 (28.1%) fluralaner chews were consumed voluntarily. The overall consumption ratio was 2.56 to 1 for NexGard® to Bravecto®, with significantly (p < 0.0001) more dogs consuming NexGard® than Bravecto® on each day. As for dogs demonstrating a preference over the entire test period; 83% of the dogs tested preferred NexGard® to Bravecto®, resulting in a preference ratio of 5 to 1 for afoxolaner formulation versus fluralaner formulation. This study demonstrated that when dogs were offered a choice between the two ectoparasiticide products, a significant preference for NexGard® was observed.
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