We are seeing a significantly higher than the usual number of cats and dogs with fleas this past month. If your pet is more itchy lately, especially on his or her back and around the tail, this is suspicious for having fleas. They may be very difficult to detect in low numbers. Most of the affected pets we are seeing with fleas have not had the benefit of monthly usage of preventive products, but others have. This has raised the question of failure of these products due either to not using these products consistently, not treating all the dogs and cats in the household for the past 6 months or resistance of the fleas to these products. Flea collars and flea baths are a thing of the past and are not effective in controlling or killing fleas.
It is said that for each flea on your pet there are one-hundred more in the environment. Dogs and cats typically pick up fleas when they are outside the home and carry them into the house. Mice are another source of fleas. If they are present on your pet, you have fleas living in your house. Fleas are able to live indoors year round. Once we get a hard freeze the outdoor fleas will die. If your pet has not yet become infested, do not stop using your flea and tick preventive medications until we have a hard freeze. If you have a flea problem read on.
De-fleaing your dog or cat has become fairly easy, de-fleaing the house is not so simple. Capstar is an oral tablet that will kill adult fleas on your pet quickly, over the course of hours. It has no residual effect beyond that so if you have not killed the fleas in the environment they will simply jump back onto your pet. The definitive way to treat your home is with foggers containing substances designed specifically for eradicating fleas. Generally we recommend the combination of Capstar and fogger spray environmental treatment of the home, immediately followed by monthly Advantix or Frontline topical medications to prevent re-infestation of the pet and home. You can purchase all these products from us. If you have adopted a flea infested pet for less that a week you may be successful in thoroughly vacuuming your home to treat the environment. Make sure to trash the vacuum cleaner bags. Fleas transmit a relatively harmless species of tapeworm whose segments can be seen on the feces or around the anus. These segments are small (about 1/4 inch long), whitish, sometimes moving, and look like sesame seeds or grains of rice when dry. They are easy to treat with an oral medication.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This saying certainly rings true when it comes to fleas. Preemptive usage of monthly preventatives is a worthwhile investment.
If you suspect your pet may have fleas, or if you think that he or she may have been exposed to them, please give us a call today. Animal Kind wants to keep all of our pet patients happy and healthy!