To follow up on the last blog about heartworm prevention, I wanted to talk about flea prevention. A common misunderstanding is that there is a flea repellant; when in reality the products are only designed to work once the pet has had contact with the parasite. Most products are considered an adulticide and kill the fleas/ticks once they have contact with the pets skin. Others are insect growth regulators, which act as “birth control” for the fleas; they are not actually killed. There are many products on the market and it is best to come in and talk to us at Angel Oak Animal Hospital to decide which is best for you and your pet. I will discuss the products we carry to give you a starting point.
For dogs we have Nexguard, Trifexis, Comfortis, and Frontline. Nexguard is from the makers of Heatguard and it is the first combined oral flea and tick product. Trifexis is an oral combined flea and heartworm prevention, but no tick coverage. Comfortis is an oral flea only product. Frontline is a topical flea and tick control. All of the products are great products, if used according to the directions and applied every 30 days. The preference is up to the owner and what works best for the pet. For cats we offer frontline that takes care of fleas and ticks, or advantage multi that covers heartworms and fleas as a topical.
If your pet has been off of flea control it is important to get them restarted so that any problems do not persist. Fleas and ticks can both cause serious problems in pets. Pets can pick up fleas from other pets, wildlife, or from the owner bringing them in on their clothes. If your pet is not on any flea control they will begin breeding and laying eggs. The eggs will end up in rugs, carpet, furniture, clothes, or wherever else they land. It can then take several weeks for them to hatch out; making the process of getting rid of them a long, tricky one.
If your pet does get fleas they can develop anemia, tapeworms, or skin infections. When fleas bite your pet they cause the pet to be itchy. This can lead to the pet excessively scratching and causing a secondary skin infection. This can lead to hair loss, flaky skin, red patches, or sores. The secondary infections can require antibiotics to clear up. Anemia can develop from the fleas feeding on the blood of the pet. If the infestation is severe enough the pet can loose enough blood to become anemic. He can then require supportive care from a veterinarian. If your pet swallows one flea he can develop tapeworms. These are the rice like worms that can be seen in the pet’s stool. This requires a de-wormer to get rid of the intestinal parasite. The fleas can also bite the owner if the infestation is bad enough.
It is important to keep all pets on flea and tick control year round while living in Charleston, S.C. to make sure there isn’t an infestation in your home or your pet doesn’t become ill.
Photo Map From: http://www.petparents.com/riskmap.aspx/index