Brand: SABER ™ EXTRA Insecticide Ear-Tag
Company: MERCK ANIMAL HEALTH
ACTIVE INGREDIENT(S) & SIZE
- lambda-cyhalothrin: 8%
- piperonyl butoxide: 20%
- tag weight: 9.5 g
CHEMICAL CLASS of the active ingredient(s):
INDICATIONS: CATTLE (beef & dairy)
PARASITES CONTROLLED* (spectrum of activity)
* Country-specific differences may apply: read the product label.
- Use two tags per animal (one in each ear).
- All animals in the herd should be tagged.
- Tags remain effective up to 5 months.
- Remove tags in the fall.
- LD50 (acute oral) in rats: 54-100 mg/kg (for lambda-cyhalothrin, according to MSDS)
- LD50 (acute dermal) in rats: 632-696 mg/kg (for lambda-cyhalothrin, according to MSDS)
Withholding periods (=withdrawal times) in days for meat & milk (country-specific differences may apply: read the product label)
- Meat: USA: NIL.
- Milk for human consumption: USA: NIL.
2nd-generation synthetic pyrethroids (e.g. cyfluthrin, cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, permethrin, etc.) are irritant to the eyes and the skin, both of humans and livestock. However, delivery through insecticidal ear-tags is usually less irritant than through pour-ons.
You may be interested in the following articles in this site dealing with the general safety of veterinary products:
- Safety for humans
- Safety for domestic animals
- Safety for the environment
- Hazard classifications of pesticides
Risk of resistance? YES, resistance of horn flies (Haematobia irritans) to synthetic pyrethroids (incl. lambda-cyhalothrin) is widespread worldwide, and can be very high, regardless of the delivery form (ear-tag, pour-on, spraying, dust bags, etc).
The synergist in the formulation (PBO) is supposed to neutralize resistance of parasites to synthetic pyrethroids. However, PBO works only against the so-called metabolic resistance (enhanced detoxification) caused by mixed function oxidases (= MFO), which is one among several mechanisms by which parasites can become resistant to synthetic pyrethroids and pesticides of other chemical classes. PBO specifically inhibits the activity of MFOs. If metabolic resistance is caused by other enzymes than MFOs, or if resistance is (also) due to other mechanisms such as target site insensitivity, reduced penetration or behavioral modifications, it won't be neutralized by PBO. In the vast majority of cases producers affected by parasites resistant to synthetic pyrethroids do not know which mechanisms make the parasites resistant, and it is mostly not possible to find it out. Consequently, whether the synergist PBO helps to overcome resistance or not is in fact a lottery.
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.
- Macrocyclic lactones (e.g. abamectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, ivermectin, moxidectin, etc.) only as pour-ons. Injectables and drenches are ineffective against most external parasites.
- Organophosphates (e.g. diazinon, chlorpyrifos).
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 more susceptible to diazinon, an organophosphorous insecticide. This although resistance of horn flies to organophosphates has also been reported, but weaker than to synthetic pyrethroids. Since ear-tags with organophosphates are also available, a very reasonable strategy to prevent or at least delay resistance development is to rotate each year between these two chemical classes. Even better is to add a macrocyclic lactone (abamectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, ivermectin, moxidectin, etc.) into 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. Injectables and drenches do not control flies or other external parasites.
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.
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.
Lambda-cyhalothrin is on of several Type-II synthetic pyrethroids introduced by ICI in the 1980s. It is moderately used in veterinary products, significantly more in agricultural and hygiene pesticides.
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 synthetic pyrethroids are veteran pesticides developed in the 1970s-1980s 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 administration to livestock or other animals, synthetic pyrethroids 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 synthetic pyrethroids 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. But this is why they are considered rather safe to mammals, both humans and livestock (cats are an exception: pyrethroids are toxic to them!) and why they leave rather low residues in meat and milk.
Control of susceptible (i.e. non-resistant) horn flies is usually excellent, because they spend a lot of time on cattle and thus are exposed to the insecticide for a long period of time. But as already mentioned, horn flies have developed high resistance to all synthetic pyrethroids in the USA, Australia and elsewhere.
It is useful to know that the active ingredients of many synthetic pyrethroids consist in a mixture of various optical isomers with different insecticidal efficacy and mammalian toxicity. Cyhalothrin is a mixture of 4 isomers, lambda-cyhalothrin is a mixture of 2 of these 4 isomers, and gamma-cyhalothrin contains only 1 isomer, the one with the most potent insecticidal activity.
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.