Side note: check back with the Vet Blog soon for a discussion of the pros and cons of neutering in male cats and dogs.

Yesterday the Vet Blog discussed demodicosis (puppy mange, caused by the Demodex mite). Ann pointed out in the comments section that she had success in treating a case of generalized demodicosis with a product called ProMeris.

ProMeris was released as a flea and tick preventative in dogs (and as a flea preventative in cats) a few years ago. I didn’t pay much attention at first because, frankly, the flea control needs of my patients have been pretty well met by Advantage and Frontline (and, more recently, Comfortis). Like many vets, I tend to be a bit leery of new products until they are put to the test by the population at large.

However, one purported benefit of ProMeris did catch my eye: clinical studies demonstrated that it was effective against generalized demodicosis (note: localized demodicosis usually doesn’t need treatment). Although there are several other available treatments for generalized demodicosis, each has potential down sides. Ivermectin is not considered safe for use in Collies (including Border Collies and all other Collie varieties), Shelties, Greyhounds, or any dog that has a genetic irregularity called the MDR-1 mutation. Milbemycin (also known as Interceptor) is very expensive. And amitraz baths, also known as Mitaban baths, have relatively low safety margins (for both dogs and the people bathing them).*

I have heard many good things about using ProMeris to treat demodicosis. However, the option will not be available for long.

A recent study linked ProMeris to the development of a skin disease called pemphigus foliaceus. In evident response to the study, Pfizer (the manufacturer of ProMeris) is pulling the canine product from the market. It is not clear whether the feline product also will be affected, but I suspect it will.

Is this an over-reaction? I don’t know. The study demonstrates that ProMeris isn’t a good choice for flea and tick control. However, the product probably would be useful, in certain cases, against Demodex.

Although I don’t know all that lies behind Pfizer’s abrupt decision to pull ProMeris entirely, I do know that “useful in certain cases” does not necessarily translate into profitable.

Talk to your vet about this matter if your pet takes ProMeris.

*Amitraz is an ingredient in the formula of ProMeris that is effective against puppy mange, but at a dose that is supposed to be safer.