Charles Martin, 334/844-3698


AUBURN -- An Auburn University professor has quickly become the go-to source for major animal health companies that seek to build better mousetraps, so to speak. But this "mousetrap" involves cats and dogs and the desire to rid them of heartworms, fleas, ticks and other harmful parasites.

The latest breakthrough product to be tested by Dr. Byron Blagburn, a parasitologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is Pfizer Animal Health's Revolution, a liquid that is administered in small drops behind a dog's or cat's neck once a month.

"Its strength is that it combines heartworm prevention and flea control into a single-entity product," Blagburn said. "In the past it would take two separate steps, or products. If you've ever tried to make a cat or dog swallow a pill, you'll appreciate the ease of applying a drop to its neck."

Blagburn has been involved in every worldwide development in the parasite-control market since the early 1990s, including products such as Novartis' Program and Sentinel, Bayer's Advantage, and Merial's Frontline. He has collaborated with Pfizer since 1993 and his laboratory began testing Revolution in 1995.

"Our goal is to keep the industry moving forward with better products," Blagburn says. "It's not our responsibility to recommended individual products, except in case-specific situations. Our role is to provide new and different options to pet owners."

Revolution prevents heartworm, kills adult fleas and prevents their eggs from hatching and treats and controls ear mites in cats and dogs. It also treats hookworms and roundworms in cats, and it treats and controls sarcoptic mange and controls American dog tick infestations in dogs.

"The American dog tick is found on a greater variety of animals in more areas of the country than other species," Blagburn said. "Because it can survive winter months better than certain species, it is one of the most difficult to control."

Once applied, Revolution enters the bloodstream through the skin. Concentrations of Revolution in the blood and intestinal tract prevent heartworm disease and treat gastrointestinal parasites, respectively.

Revolution selectively redistributes from blood to sebaceous glands, which are found below the skin's surface. Revolution's presence in the sebaceous glands and in the skin is the reservoir of drug that provides protection against fleas, flea eggs, ticks and mites.

It is a quick drying, nongreasy liquid with no unpleasant odor. Studies have shown it is effective even if a dog owner bathes his dog two hours after applying.

In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Revolution, also known as selamectin, as the nation's first and only topical medication to protect against internal and external parasites. In the past, two to three separate products were needed to accomplish the same result.

"Agreements with private companies provide great benefits to Auburn University research," says Blagburn. "We are able to purchase new equipment, pay salaries for faculty and staff, and provide stipends to graduate students, just to name a few."

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CONTACT: Blagburn, 334/844- 2702.