Simparica VS Nexgard: Which Is Better?

simparica vs nexgard

Choosing a monthly flea and tick preventative for your dog is daunting. There are so many brands to choose from; how do you know which is best for your dog? In this comparison review, we will look at two of the more popular preventative products on the market – Simparica and Nexgard. Analyzing the features of both preventatives, we will determine which product is the best investment in your dog’s health.

TAKE NOTE

Before starting your dog on any monthly preventative medication, you should always talk to your veterinarian. The right preventative for one dog is not necessarily the right preventative for your dog. The best option for your dog depends on their health, their age, and any sensitivities to medications. Your vet is the best person to help you to make this decision.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD MONTHLY FLEA AND TICK PREVENTATIVE?

Often administered monthly, a good preventative 

  • Kills existing flea and tick infestations
  • Prevents pending infestations by destroying eggs and larvae
  • Is FDA improved
  • Is affordable
  • Is free from side effects or have minimal side effects 

WHY IS A REGULAR PREVENTATIVE SO IMPORTANT?

Preventatives are crucial because they stop your dog from being exposed to deadly diseases that pass through the bite of an infected pest. Preventing diseases with a monthly preventative is much easier and more affordable than having to treat them.

Two of the most prevalent pests that pass these diseases on to our pets are fleas and ticks.

Fleas

There are hundreds of species of fleas, many of which live throughout North America.

Your dog can catch fleas from other dogs or wildlife when you take them outdoors. Fleas then bite your dog to feed on their blood and pass on diseases to your dog through their saliva.

The most common type of flea found on dogs is called the “dog flea” or Ctenocephalides Canis.

Ticks

There are over 900 species of ticks in total, but there are five types that often spread diseases to dogs. These include:

  • Lonestar ticks
  • Gulf Coast ticks
  • American dog ticks
  • Black-legged ticks
  • Brown dog ticks

Our dogs get ticks from the environment when they brush against grasses or plant life where a tick is “questing” for an animal to feel on.

THE DANGER OF FLEAS AND TICKS

Picking the best flea and tick preventative is about more than just keeping pests out of your home and keeping your dog comfortable. A preventative also protects your dog from a wide range of flea and tick-borne diseases: diseases that can be fatal including:

Lyme Disease

A common tick-borne disease, Lyme disease, is passed to your dog by deer ticks. It can cause lameness or stiff gait, difficulty breathing, fever, and touch sensitivity. The treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

Ehrlichiosis

Another disease transmitted by ticks (the brown dog tick) Ehrlichiosis develops in three stages – early, sub-clinical, and clinical or chronic. 

Early symptoms of Ehrlichiosis include respiratory difficulty, fever, spontaneous bleeding, and neurological difficulties. 

Sub-clinical Ehrlichiosis is usually symptom-free.

In the clinical phase, dogs can develop lameness, anemia, spontaneous bleeding, neurological problems, and even an inability to create new red blood cells.

Treatment for Ehrlichiosis is antibiotics and supportive care.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever 

The brown dog tick Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever transmits by the brown dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and American dog tick. RMSF causes symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, joint inflammation, and neurological problems.

Treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is antibiotics and supportive care.

HOW FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION PREVENT THESE DANGERS

Flea and tick prevention helps to keep these diseases at bay by repelling fleas and ticks and killing existing fleas and ticks. Some preventatives also kill larvae and eggs of existing parasites.

Different types of prevention work through different modes of action depending on their main chemical ingredient.

In the case of Simparica and Nexgard, the main chemical ingredients are both Isoxazolines.

Isoxazolines are a new class of synthetic pesticides that are absorbed into your dog’s blood when preventatives are ingested or applied topically. When blood-feeding parasites feed on that blood, the pesticide kills those fleas and ticks by binding to chloride channels in muscle and nerve cells and causing paralysis and death.

There are four approved types of Isoxazoline for veterinary products – Fluralaner, Sarolaner, Lotilaner, and Afoxolaner. Simparica uses the Isoxazoline Sarolaner. Nexgard uses the Isoxazoline Afoxolaner.

Does the type of Isoxazoline affect the efficiency of a flea and tick preventative? Let’s take a look at our comparison of Simparica and Nexgard and see which came out on top and whether the Isoxazoline type influenced that rating.

Comparison Table

PRODUCT FEATURES LATEST PRICE
1. SIMPARICA
SIMPARICA
  • Treats adult fleas and prevents flea and tick infestations
  • Effective against five types of tick
  • Liver flavored tablet
  • FDA Approved
Check Price
2. SIMPARICA TRIO
SIMPARICA TRIO
  • Liver chewable
  • Prevents heartworm disease
  • Treatment against fleas, ticks, roundworm, and hookworm
  • Treats for five types of tick
  • FDA approved
Check Price
3. NEXGARD
NEXGARD
  • Soft beef chewable
  • Treats adult fleas and prevents flea and tick infestations
  • Effective against four types of tick
  • FDA Approved
Check Price

BREAKING IT DOWN 

We compiled a comparison of Simparica versus Nexgard to get a better look at the pros and cons of these two popular monthly preventatives.

Based on our research, we compared the treatment age and weight range, effectiveness, FDA approval status, cost, and potential risks of each product and selected a winner.

SIMPARICA

SIMPARICA

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Simparica Chewable liver-flavored tablets are FDA approved to treat existing tick and flea infestation by killing ticks and adult fleas. They also protect against future flea and tick infestations by acting as a repellent.

Simparica chewable is one of the few preventatives that treats five varieties of ticks for better preventative coverage. These tick species include:

  • Lonestar ticks
  • Gulf Coast ticks
  • American dog ticks
  • Black-legged ticks
  • Brown dog ticks

The main ingredient in Simparica is the Isoxazoline, Sarolaner.

 

 

About Sarolaner

Sarolaner, when used in a monthly preventative, is exceptionally effective against fleas and ticks: especially when administered orally rather than topically. In studies comparing different types of Isoxazolines, Sarolaner was found to be faster acting than Afoxolaner and killed fleas and ticks at a faster rate than Afoxolaner. (Source)

Adverse side effects related to Sarolaner use are mostly neurological (seizures, tremors, ataxia), so the FDA warns pet parents to be mindful of this when treating dogs with a history of seizure activity.

Since Isoxazoline is a newer class of pesticide – only approved for veterinary use in 2013 – there is not a significant amount of research on the frequency of these neurological side effects or how severe they can be. However, there is not enough cause for concern to pull Isoxazoline-based products off the shelf at this time.

Features 

This preventative medication kills:

  • Adult fleas 
  • Five types of ticks (Lone star ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, American dog ticks, Black-legged ticks, Brown dog ticks)

Each Simparica chewable tablet provides protective coverage against fleas and ticks for 30-five days, and the chewable tablets are available in three or six-month boxes.

Simparica is not for dogs younger than 6-months or that weigh less than 2.8lbs. The average age for beginning other preventatives is usually 8-12 weeks, so Simparica is a poor choice for younger dogs.

Simparica Flea and Tick control are appropriate for dogs that are at least six months old and weigh at least 2.8lbs.

Simparica is currently available in six different weight ranges:

  • Gold box: 2.8-5.5 lbs
  • Purple box: 5.6-11 lbs
  • Caramel box: 11.1–22 lbs
  • Teal box: 22.1-44 lbs
  • Green box: 44.1-88 lbs
  • Brown box: 88.1-132lbs

The most common side effects associated with this preventative include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of energy

Serious side effects associated with this class of drugs in the Isoxazoline class (Sarolaner) include:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Neurological events

The Simparica chewable is a poor choice for dogs with a history of prior seizures. 

Simparica chewable is a preventative that is better suited to healthy adult dogs living in areas where ticks are prevalent.

PROS

  • Treats adult fleas and prevents flea and tick infestations
  • Effective against five types of tick
  • Liver flavored tablet
  • FDA Approved

CONS

  • Cost
  • May be unsuitable for dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.

A SIDE NOTE

It is also important to mention that Simparica offers a product called “Simparica Trio.” Since this preventative includes the same formula as the basic Simparica (plus some extras), we reviewed this product in our comparison as well.

SIMPARICA TRIO

SIMPARICA TRIO

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Simparica Trio liver-flavored chewable is similar to the basic Simparica, but it offers much further-reaching prevention. It has been FDA approved to treat and repel fleas, ticks, roundworms, and hookworms. This preventative also protects against heartworm disease.

Like the basic Simparica, Simparica Trio also treats five varieties of ticks for better preventative coverage.

These tick species include:

  • Lonestar ticks
  • Gulf Coast ticks
  • American dog ticks
  • Black-legged ticks
  • Brown dog ticks

The main ingredients in Simparica Trio are Sarolaner, moxidectin, and pyrantel – parasiticides. 

 

 

About Moxidectin and Pyrantel

Since we covered Sarolaner in our review of the Simparica preventative, let’s take a quick look at the other main ingredients in Simparica Trio.

Moxidectin is an “anthelmintic” drug or a drug that eliminates parasitic worms. It is effective against heartworm and intestinal worms by binding to chloride channels in nerve cells and muscles in the same way that Sarolaner does to fleas and ticks.

Pyrantel is another anthelmintic. It is effective against roundworm and hookworm. It eliminates these parasitic worms by paralyzing them and causing them to release their grip on the intestinal tract. Paralyzed worms get passed when your dog goes to the bathroom.

FEATURES

This preventative medication kills:

  • Adult fleas 
  • Five types of ticks (Lone star ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, American dog ticks, Black-legged ticks, Brown dog ticks)
  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Heartworm

Each treatment provides protective coverage for 30 days, and the chewable tablets are available in three or six-month boxes.

Simparica Trio is not for dogs younger than 2-months or that weigh less than 2.8lbs. Simparica Trio is currently available in six different weight ranges:

  • Gold box: 2.8-5.5 lbs
  • Purple box: 5.6-11 lbs
  • Caramel box: 11.1–22 lbs
  • Teal box: 22.1-44 lbs
  • Green box: 44.1-88 lbs
  • Brown box: 88.1-132lbs

The most common side effects associated with this preventative include

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Serious side effects associated with this class of drugs that contain ingredients in the Isoxazoline class (Sarolaner) include

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Neurological events
  • Ataxia

Simparica Trio chewable is a poor choice for dogs with a history of prior seizures.

A comprehensive preventative that is better suited to healthy adult dogs, Simparica Trio is ideal for pet parents looking for a single monthly preventative pill. (Keep this in mind when looking at the cost of Simparica Trio – it is expensive, but it also means you will not have to buy a monthly heartworm preventative too.

PROS

  • Liver chewable
  • Prevents heartworm disease
  • Treatment against fleas, ticks, roundworm, and hookworm
  • Treats for five types of tick
  • FDA approved

CONS

  • Cost
  • Since it provides heartworm protection, it requires a prescription before purchase.
  • May be unsuitable for dogs with a history of seizures.

NEXGARD

NEXGARD

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Nexgard soft beef chewable is also FDA approved to treat existing tick and flea infestation by killing ticks and adult fleas. Additionally, they protect against future flea and tick infestations by acting as a repellent. Lastly, Nexgard helps to prevent any infection that can go on to cause Lyme disease.

Nexgard protects against four varieties of ticks. These tick species include:

  • Lonestar ticks
  • American dog ticks
  • Black-legged ticks
  • Brown dog ticks

The main ingredient in Nexgard is Afoxolaner – an Isoxazoline parasiticide. 

 

 

About Afoxolaner

Afoxolaner, when used in a monthly preventative, is exceptionally effective against fleas and ticks: particularly when administered orally rather than topically. However, Afoxolaner is slower acting than Sarolaner and kills fleas and ticks at a slower rate than Sarolaner. (Source)

Adverse side effects related to Afoxolaner use are also neurological (seizures, tremors, ataxia), so, again, the FDA warns pet parents to be mindful of this when treating dogs with a history of seizure activity.

As we mentioned with Simparica, Isoxazoline is a newer class of pesticide – only approved for veterinary use in 2013. So, there is not a significant amount of research on the frequency of these neurological side effects or how severe they can be. However, there is not enough cause for concern to pull Isoxazoline-based products off the shelf at this time.

Features 

This preventative medication kills:

  • Adult fleas 
  • Five types of ticks (Lone star ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, American dog ticks, Black-legged ticks, Brown dog ticks)

Each Nexgard treatment provides protective coverage against fleas and ticks for 30 days, and the chewable is available in three or six-month boxes.

Nexgard is not for dogs younger than 2-months or that weigh less than 4lbs. Nexgard is currently available in four different weight ranges:

  • Orange box: 4-10 lbs
  • Blue box: 10.1-24 lbs
  • Purple box: 24.1–60 lbs
  • Red box: 60.1-121 lbs

The most common side effects associated with this preventative include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of energy

Serious side effects associated with the Isoxazoline class of medications (Afoxolaner) include:

  • Seizures
  • Ataxia
  • Neurological events

Nexgard chewable is a poor choice for dogs with a history of prior seizures or neurological difficulties. 

Nexgard chewable is a preventative that is better suited to healthy dogs and age-appropriate puppies that prefer softer and more palatable medications.  

PROS

  • Soft beef chewable
  • Treats adult fleas and prevents flea and tick infestations
  • Effective against four types of tick
  • FDA Approved

CONS

  • It may be unsuitable for dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders

WINNER 

So, which of these monthly preventatives is our pick?

Simparica!

Specifically, Simparica Trio, but with the same active ingredient for treating fleas and ticks, the basic Simparica comes second on the list.

FINAL VERDICT

We chose the Simparica monthly preventative because it offers protection against five varieties of ticks, where Nexgard protects against just four. We like Simparica Trio because it has this benefit while also treating parasitic worms and heartworms.

The basic Simparica is also the most affordable of the two preventatives. Although only slightly more affordable than Nexgard, your annual savings is enough to cover a full month of your dog’s food.

Simparica Trio is the most expensive option of these three preventatives, but keep in mind that this preventative also treats heartworm and other parasitic worms. So, you eliminate the need for separate monthly heartworm or worming treatment and make up for that difference in cost.

Simparica and Simparica Trio both also have a liver flavor that is more appealing to dogs overall than the beef flavor of Nexgard.

Lastly, although Nexgard treats younger dogs (Simparica is for puppies 6-months plus or dogs that weigh over 2.8lbs), Simparica offers more weight tiers than Nexgard for better dosing.

Simparica Trio is for dogs younger than basic Simparica – since it is for dogs 2-months and up or that weigh 2.8lbs or more – it also offers more weight tiers than Nexgard for better dosing.

The only thing we don’t like about this monthly preventative (both Simparica and Simparica Trio) is, again, that it’s not ideal for dogs with a history of seizures. If your dog does have a history of seizures, talk to your vet about the best monthly preventative option for your dog.

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