The Story Behind Combat Comb and How It’s Battling Ticks and Fleas

By EPiQ Animal Health | February 6th, 2020

Many of the best innovations throughout history were made by people who refused to settle for mediocrity. When a problem is repetitive or a process is faulty, innovators realize that there is always a better way. A good solution requires expertise, creativity, and, well, doggedness.

Such was the case for decades with topical flea and tick control, until the invention of the Combat Comb. Here’s how one of animal health’s oldest and most pervasive problems was addressed by one innovator who took it upon herself to find a better way to protect our pets.

A Flea-Ridden History

In the 1980s, the animal health industry birthed an innovative alternative to the infamous flea collar. The solution was a liquid you could administer directly to the pet’s skin, and it revolutionized pet care. Simple! Efficient! Well, kind of.

Applying the liquid may be simple and efficient if your pet happens to be a rare, hairless breed. What about the rest of the pets — the ones with all the fur? Furry friends are lovely for snuggling on a cold winter night but very tough for effective flea and tick prevention. It’s a real challenge, as many pet owners can attest, to immobilize a dog or cat, part their fur, and apply the liquid at the back of the neck where the animal cannot easily scratch it or lick it off. All this, in addition to the strong odor the oil gives off and leaves on your hands, made for an imperfect process in need of improvement.

Enter fearless inventor Stefanie Penland, who, in 2014, encountered this very issue with her new puppy, Brooklyn.

A Pungent Brain Wave

Brooklyn had fleas, so Stefanie bought the expensive treatment, yet Brooklyn’s fleas returned. Why? It was an approved remedy! She was applying it as directed! How was it possible that Brooklyn still had fleas, even after the hands of both Stephanie and her husband were tainted by the medicine?

In a flash of clarity, Stefanie realized the medicine was not reaching Brooklyn’s skin. It was all over Stefanie’s fingers and soaked into Brooklyn’s fur, but the liquid was rarely reaching its target.

Stefanie needed a better delivery method for the medicine; a way to ensure that the medicine made contact with her dog’s skin — and stayed there. Surely there was a way. The Penlands asked their friends and researched other options, but they found nothing other than a nation of pet owners who were struggling with the same problem. This solution would have to come from them.

A Simple Solution

The tool would have to be pet-friendly, easy to use, and inexpensive. It would have to part the fur so that the pet’s human had a clear line of delivery to get the medicine to the skin. After four years of sketching prototypes and numerous trial-and-error tests, the Combat Comb was born.

The completed version of the Combat Comb has a long needle nose that seamlessly smooths and parts hair so gently that your pet might think they’re getting a massage. A window over the part exposes the skin to allow a quick and seamless medicine delivery.

The long-standing conundrum of topical-medicine application was solved — jumpy dogs, skittish cats, and even itchy horses gave their approval!

Stefanie and her husband have now brought their product to market so that pet owners everywhere can benefit from its clever and simple solution. Check out the Combat Comb today and see for yourself.

Learn more about our inventive animal health products and pet-care solutions here.

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