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Fleas, the Frustrating Pest


Adult Flea Treatments

-Frontline Plus for dogs and cats
-Advantage for dogs and cats
-Revolution for cats
-Comfortis for dogs
-Capstar for dogs and cats

Examples of drugs for treating flea eggs and larvae:

Outdoor treatment:
-Bayer Advanced Garden Multi Insect Killer (cyfluthrin)

Also, most fleas in the US are resistant to Pyrethrins.

Consider the following scenario: You arrive home from a long flight from a wonderful, two-week vacation. As you drive home, you remind yourself the boarding kennel is already closed and you have to wait until tomorrow to pick up your dog, Max. You finally walk in the front door, happy to be home. As you walk across the carpet you feel a tingling sensation on your legs and when you look down, you see your white socks now look gray. FLEAS!!

What should you do?  In order to effectively combat a flea infestation we first need to understand the flea life-cycle and the products available to treat and control fleas on our pets and in the environment.

There are four stages of a flea's life: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Adult fleas are on the pet, the other stages are in the environment. The female fleas on the dog lay eggs that roll off onto the carpet, bedding, floors, grass, etc. In one to six days, the eggs hatch to larvae that can crawl. In five to 11 days, the larvae change to pupae. Unfortunately, there is no chemical or substance that can kill flea pupae other than fire. Even worse, the pupae have the ability to go into "suspended animation" and just stay in this state until a host appears. We know this state can last at least one year. Once a host comes close, certain stimuli cause the pupae to hatch to adults that immediately hop onto the host, which in this case, is either your pet or you!
Should you banish "Max" to the backyard? No!! If there is no pet in the house, the fleas in the house will simply go to you to live and feed. You need Max to act as "bait". A good adult flea treatment should be used on Max. Your veterinarian can advise you on such products. Since you have been gone for two weeks, all the fleas in the house (before you entered) were in the pupae stage. Therefore, any chemical an exterminator would use would be useless. Once a host enters the area, the fleas immediately hatch and go to the host, so any residual chemical in the carpet is also useless, the fleas aren't exposed long enough to be killed. Premise sprays take 36 to 48 hours to kill fleas. You have to treat adult fleas by treating the pet. The best flea control involves treating all the stages possible and stopping egg production. Drugs that kill eggs and larvae are added to some adult topical treatments or are available separately. Your veterinarian is the best source of information on integrated flea treatment.

FLEA_Graphic.JPGIt's estimated that the adult fleas you see make up approximately 5-10% of the overall flea population, so the remaining 90% are eggs, larvae, and pupae in the environment including carpeting, bedding, and the yard.  Treating your pet will help, but oftentimes treatment of the environment is also needed to break the flea life-cycle.   There are several products available for treating your pets and the home and yard, including topical and oral treatments for pets, sprays and granules for the yard, and sprays and carpet powders for the home.   If you are using a flea adulticide on your pet and applying it correctly, and still seeing fleas this doesn't indicate a product failure.  New fleas from the environment will still jump onto your pet. Treating the environment may be needed to break the life-cycle. Also, even if cats are indoor pets, they should be treated because fleas brought in by other pets will jump onto any untreated pets in the home and reproduce contributing to an increase in the flea population.  


How to PrevĀ­ent and Remove Ticks

Lyme disease is a top concern for dog owners who enjoy walking with their dog in grassy and wooded areas. Transmitted by deer ticks, Lyme disease can result in fever, joint lameness, fatigue, and general discomfort for your pet. While treatment is available, Lyme disease is best prevented. Other diseases transmitted by ticks include Erlichia canis and Anaplasmosis. Dogs cannot transmit these diseases to humans if they become infected, but humans can become infected directly from ticks  Here is how to prevent disease and remove troublesome ticks.

Prevention Tips:

Try to avoid heavily wooded areas or tall grass when walking your pet.

Always be sure you check for ticks as soon as you are done with your walk. Make a point to investigate everyone in the family before returning to the car after a hike.

Be thorough when looking for ticks. Check in places your pet cannot get at such as the back of the head and neck. Ticks will tend to bury themselves in areas pets cannot reach.

Remove any tick(s) you find promptly and dispose of them properly. Proper disposal means killing the tick before disposing of it in a secured trash can.  One method is to place the tick into a small airtight container with rubbing alcohol.  It's important to kill ticks before disposing of them.

If ticks are a concern, use a topical formula that provides tick protection to help keep ticks from "digging in" to your pet. Apply the product to the back of the neck where the pet can not lick it off or get its paw up to scratch and then lick and ingest.  We can help you put this on or show you the first time.  It is easy to apply and should be applied according to the manufacturer's directions. Deer_Tick.jpg

Instructions for Removing a Tick:

If you find a tick on your pet, get a pair of fine-nosed tweezers to remove it. Wash the tweezers with warm, soapy water before and after use. Wash your hands as well.

Have someone hold your pet so they do not get distracted and move on you.  Grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible. Do not squeeze the body of the tick! You want the nose, not the body.

Pull the tick straight out. You may have to be firm when you pull. This is okay and should not hurt your pet. Put the tick into a small jar of rubbing alcohol (to kill it). You can also flush the tick, or run it through the garbage disposal with hot water.

Rub the area with rubbing alcohol to kill germs.  If you notice a rash or redness, blotchy, itchy, etc., make an appointment to have your pet checked. A fever, sudden joint lameness, fatigue, and not eating are other signs it is time to give us a call!

For more information on fleas and ticks as well as other parasites that can cause illness for you and your pets please visit www.petsandparasites.org

If you have questions or would like product recommendations based on your pet's lifestyle and exposure risk, please contact our office 770-475-8272.