Advocate Spot-On


Liquid Spot-on

Active ingredient

Imidacloprid, Moxidectin

Frequency of use

Every 4 weeks

Minimum age/weight

Puppy: 7 weeks (1kg)
Kitten: 9 weeks (1kg)


Fleas (adults), fleas (immature), biting lice, sarcoptic mange (scabies), demodectic mange (demodex), ear mites, lungworm, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworm (immature).

What is Advocate?

Advocate is a topical (‘spot on’) antiparasitic drug manufactured by Elanco. It contains the active ingredients imidacloprid (an insecticide) and moxidectin (which kills mites and roundworms). Advocate is a prescription-only medication and comes in pipettes, which are applied to the skin on the back of your pet’s neck on a regular basis as part of a prevention and treatment plan for fleas and other parasites.

What does Advocate do?

Advocate contains two key active ingredients: imidacloprid and moxidectin.

Imidacloprid: This insecticide works by interfering with the transmission of nerve impulses in fleas and biting lice, leading to their paralysis and subsequent death. It acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the insect’s nervous system.

Moxidectin: This anthelmintic (anti-worm) agent belongs to the macrocyclic lactone class. It works by binding to the glutamate-gated chloride channels in the nervous system of parasites, ultimately leading to paralysis and death of the parasites.

After topical application, imidacloprid and moxidectin are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream. They are distributed throughout the body, reaching target tissues where parasites reside.

Metabolism and Elimination: Both imidacloprid and moxidectin undergo metabolic processes in the liver. The metabolites are then eliminated primarily through the feces, with a smaller portion excreted in the urine.

Duration of Action: The formulation of Advocate provides a sustained release of the active ingredients over the course of a month. This extended duration of action ensures ongoing protection against fleas, heartworms, and other parasites.

What is Advocate for?

Advocate contains two active ingredients to treat a broader range of pests. It can therefore be used in a number of situations:

  • Flea Control: Advocate kills adult fleas on your pet, preventing infestations and providing relief from itching and discomfort. It also has some protection against immature fleas, which die through contact with a treated pet.
  • Gastrointestinal Worm Control: Advocate targets various gastrointestinal worms, including roundworms and hookworms. It helps prevent and control these internal parasites
  • Heartworm Prevention: Advocate is a heartworm preventive, protecting your pet from the parasites that cause heartworm. Although this isn’t present in the UK, many pets travel to countries where heartworm prevention is necessary. This medication has no effect on adult heartworm – if there’s a known heartworm infection, this drug may not be suitable.
  • Lungworm Protection: Advocate guards against lungworm infections in dogs, helping to keep their respiratory system free from this parasitic threat. Lungworm is present in many parts of the UK, particularly urban areas where foxes are common.
  • Ear Mite Treatment: For cats and dogs, Advocate is effective against ear mites, providing relief from ear discomfort and preventing further infestations.
  • Mange Control: Advocate aids in the control of sarcoptic mange, an itchy skin condition caused by mites. It also treats other types of mite infestation, including demodicosis (demodectic mange).

Advocate is a prescription medication, which means your vet will prescribe the frequency and duration depending on what you are trying to prevent and treat. Always follow the veterinarian’s recommendations for the correct application and dosage based on your pet’s specific needs.
This product does not treat tapeworm. Your pet will still need to take tapeworm medications at a frequency recommended by your vet.

Which pets is Advocate not suitable for?

Advocate is not suitable for all pets. Because it is a prescription medication, your vet will determine whether it’s safe to use Advocate in your pet. However, Advocate may not be suitable for:

  • Dogs under 7 weeks or weighing less than 1kg
  • Kittens under 9 weeks or weighing less than 1kg
  • Ferrets weighing less than 800 grams (0.8kg)
  • Pets that are sick or debilitated (depending on their condition)
  • Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, and related breeds and crossbreeds that have a mutation in MDR-1
  • Pregnant or lactating animals
  • Animals being used for breeding
  • Birds, particularly canaries

What are the possible side effects with Advocate?

Like all medications, Advocate comes with side effects. While these are usually mild or rare, it’s important to be aware of side effects of Advocate before you apply it.

  • Temporary Skin Reactions: Some pets may experience mild and temporary skin reactions at the application site, such as redness, itching, or a tingling sensation. This is usually self-limiting and resolves on its own.
  • Transient Behavioral Changes: Occasionally, pets may exhibit temporary changes in behavior, such as increased scratching or rubbing at the application site, probably related to a skin reaction or to the sensation of the liquid on the skin. These behavioral changes are typically short-lived.
  • Gastrointestinal Upset: In rare cases, pets may experience mild gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting or diarrhea. If these symptoms persist or are severe, consult your veterinarian.
  • Hypersalivation (Excessive Drooling): Excessive drooling may occur, especially if the pet licks the application site. It’s advisable to prevent pets from grooming the treated area immediately after application.
  • Severe Respiratory Signs: In dogs who have confirmed heartworm, coughing, fast breathing and difficulty breathing are known side effects of treatment. Therefore, dogs being treated for heartworm should usually be kept in a veterinary setting after application.

It’s essential to follow the veterinarian’s recommendations for the correct application and dosage based on your pet’s specific needs. If you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms in your pet after using Advocate, contact your veterinarian for guidance. Keep in mind that severe adverse reactions are rare, and most pets tolerate the medication well.

How to give Advocate safely

It is important to give Advocate according to the instructions or the instructions of your vet. Here are some general tips on giving Advocate safely:

  • Follow instructions carefully: Always use Advocate exactly as your vet has prescribed, according to the instructions on the label. This includes the right dose and frequency.
  • Never split doses: Always use the right size for your pet. Never try to split a larger dose between several pets.
  • Check the species: Never give a dog dose to a cat, or vice versa. Not only will the dose be incorrect, but some common dog flea treatments are toxic to cats.
  • Storage and handling: Store Advocate according to the instructions on the label, usually in a cool and dry place. Make sure it’s out of reach of children and pets.
  • Avoid contact with skin, eyes, hands and mouth: Wear gloves whilst applying, and wash any spills off immediately. Do not eat, drink, or smoke during application. If product gets into eyes, wash thoroughly and seek medical attention if symptoms persist. If the product is accidentally ingested, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Apply to back of neck: The product needs to be placed high enough that the dog or cat cannot lick it off. The back of the neck is usually the best place, a little higher than the shoulder blades. In larger dogs, the manufacturer recommends that you split the dose down the back line – dogs will need to be prevented from licking until the treatment is dry. 
  • Don’t apply too much in one spot: If you apply too much product in one location it may spill over, dripping down your pet and increasing the chance of them licking it off. If necessary, continue applying the second half of the dose in a new spot.
  • Do not allow your pet to swim: Both imidacloprid and moxidectin are damaging to aquatic organisms. Your pet should not be allowed to swim for at least 4 days after having Advocate applied. 
  • Do not bathe your dog frequently during treatment: Frequent bathing is likely to cause the treatment to fail. If your dog needs to be bathed regularly, tell your vet, who may change your prescription.
  • Take care with furniture: This product may stain materials including leather, plastics, and fabrics. Do not allow pets to come into contact with these surfaces until the product is dry.
  • Report any accidental overdose to your vet immediately: If you have mistakenly given too much Advocate, report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They may recommend blood tests, intravenous fluids, or monitoring, depending on the severity of the overdose.

Advocate FAQs

How often should I apply Advocate to my pet?

Advocate should be applied according to the frequency on the prescription from the veterinarian. This is usually every 4 weeks, but may depend on the parasites being treated or prevented.

Can I use Advocate on my puppy or kitten?

Advocate is suitable for puppies over 7 weeks of age and weighing over 1kg. It is suitable for kittens over 9 weeks of age and weighing at least 1kg.

Is Advocate safe for pregnant or nursing pets?

Advocate has not been tested in pregnant or nursing pets. It may be prescribed by a vet who has considered the risk:benefit, or there are other suitable medications for pregnant and nursing animals.

How can I get Advocate?

Advocate is a prescription-only medication in the UK, which means your pet will need to see a vet for it to be prescribed. You can then buy the Advocate from your vet, or ask for a written prescription to be printed so you can order the medication from a local or online pharmacy.

What should I do if my pet licks the Advocate application site?

You should take care to prevent licking. If licking occurs, your pet may be more likely to get side effects, so you should prevent further licking and monitor your pet carefully. Call your vet if you notice side effects. If your pet is a Collie, Old English Sheepdog, or related breed, they may need urgent medical attention if they have licked Advocate – call your vet urgently.

Can I bathe my pet after applying Advocate?

Pets that have had Advocate applied should not be bathed for at least 4 days after treatment, as this drug is known to be extremely toxic to aquatic life. Frequent bathing is also likely to stop Advocate from working properly.

Is Advocate effective against ticks and mosquitoes?

Advocate does not treat ticks or mosquitoes.

What should I do if my pet experiences irritation at the application site?

Irritation at the Advocate application site is usually rare and temporary. Report the irritation to your vet, who should report it to the manufacturer. If the irritation persists for more than 24 hours you should book an appointment with your vet in case medication is needed to soothe the irritation. You may wish to talk to your vet about using a different product in future.

Advocate Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one in your Advocate box, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

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Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.