Itching for change: Embracing modern flea and tick product development
The development and regulatory approval of ectoparasiticides, including flea and tick control products, involves decades-old methods and the use of large numbers of animals to evaluate toxicity and efficacy. Animals also are used to rear (breed and feed) fleas and ticks for later use in testing. Non-animal methods for regulatory-required testing and rearing currently exist and, with further development, others could soon become available. Here we provide an overview of the state-of-the-science of non-animal methods for rearing and regulatory-required efficacy testing of flea and tick control products. Several remaining challenges as well as recommendations on the steps needed to replace animals in the evaluation of these products are discussed.