Brand: RABON ® Insecticide Ear-Tag

Company: ZOETIS

DELIVERY FORM: «ear-tag» to be applied to the front or back of the ear.


  • tetrachlorvinphos: 13.7%
  • tag weight: 16.5 g

CHEMICAL CLASS of the active ingredient(s): organophosphate

INDICATIONS: CATTLE (beef & dairy)

PARASITES CONTROLLED (spectrum of activity)


  • Apply one or two tags (one per ear)/animal, depending on fly pressure.
  • Protection from buffalo flies up to 90 days.
  • Replace tags when the fly population starts to build up again.
  • Remove tags after use.
  • All animals in the herd should be tagged.


  • LD50 (acute oral) in rats: 465-1480 mg/kg (for the a.i., according to US EPA)
  • LD50 (acute dermal) in rabbits: >2000 mg/kg (for the a.i., according to US EPA)

Withholding periods (=withdrawal times) in days for meat & milk (country-specific differences may apply: read the product label)

  • Meat: NIL (ESI NIL)
  • Milk for human consumption: NIL.

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Risk of resistance? YES, resistance of horn & buffalo flies to organophosphates has been already reported. However, resistance to synthetic pyrethroids is much more abundant and stronger.

This means that if this product does not achieve the expected efficacy against the mentioned parasites, it can be due to resistance and not to incorrect use, which is usually the most frequent cause of product failure.

Alternative chemical classes/active ingredients to prevent resistance of external parasites through product rotation:

These alternative products may not be available in all countries, or may not be available as ear-tags, or may not be effective against all the concerned parasites.

It has been shown that horn flies resistant to synthetic pyrethroids are particularly susceptible to diazinon, another organophosphate, and it is assumed that this also happens with buffalo flies and to some extent with other organophosphates as well, although to our knowledge it has not be confirmed yet. In any case rotating each year between these two chemical classes is a reasonable strategy to prevent or at least delay resistance development. Even better is to add a macrocyclic lactone (abamectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, ivermectin, moxidectin, etc.) to the rotation scheme, because the mechanism of action of these compounds is different from those of organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids. Most macrocyclic lactones are available as pour-ons for the control of horn flies, a few ones also as ear-tags. Macrocyclic lactones formulated as injectables and drenches do not control flies or other external parasites.

Learn more about resistance and how it develops.


Are the active ingredients of this product ORIGINAL* or GENERICS**?


*Meaning that they are still patent protected and generics are not yet available
**Meaning that they have lost patent protection and may be acquired from manufacturers of generic active ingredients other than the holder of the original patent.

COUNTRIES where this brand/product is marketed: AUSTRALIA
GENERIC BRANDS available? YES, perhaps not with tetrachlorvinphos, but with comparable organophosphates.

Click here to learn more about GENERIC vs. ORIGINAL drugs.

For an overview and a list of the most used insecticide-impregnated ear-tags click here.


RABON Insecticide Ear-tag for Cattle from ZOETIS is one of the numerous insecticide-impregnated ear-tags for the control of buffalo flies on cattle.

Tetrachlorvinphos is a veteran organophosphate pesticide introduced in the 1960s. It has a broad-spectrum of efficacy against numerous insects. It has been poorly used in Animal Health but more in Crop Protection. However, as most organophosphates it has been vastly replaced by more modern pesticides in numerous countries in the last decades.

Insecticide-impregnated ear-tags are designed to slowly release the insecticide into the animals hair-coat to ensure protection for months. Whether most of the insecticide is released at the beginning and only a little at the end, or release is homogeneous depends on the composition of the matrix and the behavior of the active ingredient(s) in it. However, after 2 to 3 months the amount released progressively decreases to drop below the amount that is required to ensure full fly control. This means that at a certain point flies and other parasites may be exposed to sub-lethal doses, which is generally considered as a factor that favors resistance development. For this reason the tags should be removed after 3-4 months following the manufacturer's use recommendations, and either replaced by new ones or the animals should be left untagged.

Once the active ingredient is released, efficacy strongly depends on the spreading of the active ingredient(s) along the animal's hair coat to other parts of the body. This depends on factors such as solubility of the active ingredient in the hair and skin lipids. Persistence in the hair-coat depends on other features of the active ingredient(s) such as volatility, resistance to sunlight, solubility in water, etc. As a general rule, some body parts will get less active ingredient than other parts and protection there will be lower, e.g. the legs, the underbelly, the udders, below the tail, etc.  Animal behavior (licking, grooming, rubbing, etc.) plays a role as well. It has been shown, that if only half of the animals in a herd are tagged, those untagged will also be protected against flies, indicating that part of the active ingredient is transferred from tagged to untagged animals. However, this also means that tagged animals will lose part of the active ingredient and protection will be shorter and/or control will be poorer. For this reason all animals in a herd should be tagged because this reduces the impact of animal behavior in efficacy and protection. However, since individual animal behavior plays a role in efficacy and length of protection, it must be accepted that protection will not always be the same in all the animals in a herd.

All organophosphate pesticides were developed in the 1950s-1960s and are basically contact insecticides. This means that when the parasite comes in contact with it (e.g., during the blood meal, after landing on a treated host, etc), the active ingredient that impregnates the host's hair coat penetrates through the cuticle of the parasite (the "skin" of insects and other arthropods) into its organism and disturbs essential biological processes in the parasite's body, in this case its nervous system.

After topical administration to livestock or other animals, organophosphates do not have a systemic mode of action, i.e. they are not transmitted to the parasite through the blood or the host. Topically administered organophosphates are very poorly absorbed through the skin of the hosts, and what is absorbed is quickly broken down and/or excreted. Consequently the concentration reached in the blood is too low to kill blood-sucking parasites.

Control of susceptible (i.e. non-resistant) buffalo flies is usually excellent, because they spend most of their time on cattle and thus are exposed to the insecticide for a long period of time. And they remain mainly in the back of the animals, where the concentration of active ingredient released by the ear-tags is rather high. In contrast with the behavior of buffalo flies, other parasitic flies visit cattle only for feeding and remain exposed to the insecticide during shorter periods of time, mostly too short to kill them.


This article IS NOT A PRODUCT LABEL. It offers complementary information that may be useful to veterinary professionals and users that are not familiar with veterinary antiparasitics. 

Information offered in this article has been extracted from publications issued by manufacturers, government agencies (e.g. EMEA, FDA, USDA, etc.) or in the scientific literature. No guarantee is given on its accuracy, integrity, sufficiency, actuality and opportunity, and any liability is denied. Read the site's DISCLAIMER.

In case of doubt contact the manufacturer or a veterinary professional.