Novartis Capstar

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Banish the Fleas.... not your pet!

Aug 14, 2006 (Updated Jun 16, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Kills fleas within 30 minutes. Safe for kittens and puppies older than 4 weeks.

Cons:Haven't found any... super convenient!

The Bottom Line: CAPSTAR® is not a flea-prevention product, but an aid in controlling flea-infestations. You must still use a flea management system, such as monthly spot treatments.

My dog, Bourbon the ShihTzu, came back from the groomer’s looking clean, fresh, and fashionable! However, that evening we noticed that he was licking and scratching a particular spot, over, and over again, to the point of nuisance; we kept nagging the poor dog to stop licking...right!

I examined the offending area and didn’t see anything. It couldn’t possibly be fleas, I thought... it’s been only two weeks since I applied the monthly spot flea treatment (BioSpot®*). The next morning, I noticed the dog continued to lick the same area incessantly, only this time, I saw a couple of fleas on his belly, and I got them and killed them... I thought the problem was over! I purchased Benadryl® spray to apply to the irritated area to alleviate the itching, but he kept licking and scratching.

On Sunday morning, when we got up and saw his leg, he had pulled the hair with his teeth from an area approximately 3”x4”, and now he was tearing up his skin in desperation! I tried wrapping his leg in an effort to keep him from chewing up the skin on his leg, to no avail.

About fleas:

I don’t need to remind you how disgusting fleas are, and how they spread tapeworms to your pet and other family members. Very small or young pets can develop anemia and can die from blood loss. The fleas can trigger an allergic reaction causing your pet to tear its skin with incessant scratching and biting; the result: skin infections.

Signs of a flea infestation and allergic reaction:

In dogs: Massive loss of hair, Presence of red and swollen sores, and irritation and scratching in certain areas such as:

* Along the tail
* On the rump area
* All over the hind legs
* The groin region, especially between the hind legs

In cats: Constant scratching in various part of the body and the formation of painful scabs in sensitive areas such as:

* The neck
* The face
* The groin
* The main body

As Seen on TV!

Over the weekend, before going to the vet, I was watching one of those SPCA shows on Animal Planet and saw a batch of rescued puppies treated with CAPSTAR® and the fleas were literally jumping off the pups, onto the table. Within 30 minutes, the pups were completely free of fleas! I was very impressed with this product, especially because the vets on TV were raving about it! I was going to ask our vet about it!

At the Vet’s Clinic:

Monday morning, I was at the Vet’s office, without an appointment. We were seen promptly and the vet looked at the affected area, and said: looks like a severe case of “flea allergy dermatitis.” She then scanned the dog’s body for the tiny culprits and the evidence was everywhere on his body: those tiny, dirt-like particles, and a couple of fleas running around his belly!

Houston’s hot, humid conditions are ideal for flea infestations and pet owners must be pro-active in dealing with these miniscule aggressors!

Applying another spot treatment was out of the question, due to the recent application of BioSpot®. A second spot treatment application in less than 21 days may prove toxic! So, the vet suggested using a new flea-killing product called CAPSTAR®, manufactured by Novartis Animal Health and sold in over 40 countries.

She said that we could use CAPSTAR® daily, if necessary, until the flea infestation was under control, without adverse results. In fact, this product can help pet owners control fleas whenever the pet is taken outside its normal environment, such as boarding at the kennel or the grooming salon.

What is CAPSTAR®?

CAPSTAR® is made for dogs and cats in the form of an oral tablet. It can be used for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens 4 weeks and older and two pounds of body weight or greater.

The product contains “nitenpyram,” which belongs to the chemical class of “neonicotinoids” and it interferes with the insect’s normal nerve transmission, leading to its death. CAPSTAR® is only effective on adult fleas and you should continue to apply a monthly spot treatment that inhibits insect development.

Since my dog is highly allergic to fleas, BioSpot® is not the right product for him, and he will be switched to a different spot treatment called K-9 Advantix® by Bayer, which kills fleas on contact!


Active Ingredients:

CAPSTAR® tablets contain 11.4 or 57.0 mg of nitenpyram. One box contains 6 tablets.

Directions for use:

Place the pill directly in your pet’s mouth or hide it in food. If you hide the pill in food, watch closely to ensure your pet swallowed the pill. If you’re not sure your pet swallowed the pill, it is safe to give a second pill.

Other Information:

The product begins working within 30 minutes of ingestion and studies conducted by Novartis showed this product is safe for use in pregnant or lactating dogs or cats, and for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens 4 weeks of age and older.

This product can be used in conjunction with other flea management systems.

Recommended Dosage Schedule:

CAPSTAR® should not be administered to pets under 2 pounds and should be administered under the following schedule.

Dog/Cats 2-25 lbs One tablet 11.4 mg

Dog/Cats 25.1-125 lbs One tablet 57.0 mg

Where to buy:

CAPSTAR® may be purchased through various online pet products vendors or from your veterinary clinic. I called Petco and PetSmart and they do not carry it (as of early August 2006).

As with any insecticide, if you decide to purchase it online, please inform your veterinary doctor of pending usage before administering it. After all, it is a poison intended for internal use, to control fleas.

In summary:

The severe flea allergic reaction my dog suffered is common for many pure breed dogs and cats. CAPSTAR® gave my dog a fighting chance in the battle against fleas! Unfortunately, he suffered skin damage, and was given corticosteroids to relieve the intense itching and skin swelling, wore an Elizabethan collar for five days to keep him from further damaging his skin and completed a 7-day course of antibiotics. The good news is that once the fleas were under control and with the help of the corticosteroids, the itching subsided and the affected skin area healed. The ugly red stains (caused by licking) on his white fur and bald spot are only a reminder of how dangerous fleas truly are!

Please don’t wait until the situation gets out of control!

In the last three weeks, I’ve given Bourbon three pills, and I’ve observed him closely to ensure that he was not suffering an adverse reaction. So, far so good… fleas are gone!

Next week, a new monthly spot treatment will be applied and I hope it works… if not, we have CAPSTAR® as a back-up!

Please visit Norvarti's website for further information.


Thank you Billie for providing a link quite speedily!


*BioSpot’s main ingredients are Permethrin combined with pyriproxyfen which is an insect growth regulator. These products will not prevent the flea from biting the animal, so if the animal is allergic to flea bites and has constant exposure to fleas, they will not prevent the allergies.

Recommend this product? Yes

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