Lee County Veterinary Care Companion Animal Newsletter
Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks can be picked up anytime your animal goes outside, if an infested animal comes to visit, or if they are carried into your house on you or on your clothes. These pests are not only a nuisance, they can also cause medical problems for your animal.
Itchiness from fleas can lead to skin irritation, which often gets infected. Fleas can also carry tapeworms, and heavy loads of fleas and/or tapeworms can cause anemia in the animal. Fleas typically only feed on animals, but if the infestation in a person’s house gets bad enough, the fleas will start feeding on the people as well. Some animals and people will have allergic reactions to flea bites.
Ticks can carry several diseases and this year we have seen ticks and their diseases in abundance! Lyme’s Disease often causes sore joints and can cause many other, more serious problems, like kidney failure. Ticks also carry Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis, which are bacteria that cause blood diseases. We can run an in-house blood test at the clinic that checks for Lyme’s disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis, as well as heartworms. These conditions are usually treatable once they are diagnosed.
Prevention of fleas and ticks are crucial for your pet. Flea and tick baths will kill adult pests that are present on the animal during the bath, but they do not have any residual effect and do not help to clean up the animal’s environment or your house.
We have many products available that will kill and prevent infestations. It is very important to use the proper dose of preventative for your pet. Underdosing can lead to fleas and ticks being resistant, because they get a dose of the product that is not enough to kill them but allows them to develop resistance.
Chewable medications are typically the easiest way to treat dogs and cats. We have two chewable options. Comfortis tablets are for dogs and cats; they only kill fleas. NexGard is a new, beef-flavored chew for dogs that kills both fleas and ticks. Both of these products last 30 days.
You may have heard that flea and tick collars are not very effective. This is still true for most over-the-counter collars, but recently, some of the bigger animal health companies have developed collars that work very well. We carry Seresto and Scalibor collars, which both kill fleas and ticks. They are different from other collars because rather than having the active ingredient in a powdery form on the outside of the collar, the active ingredient is inside the collar and slowly releases out. Seresto collars are effective for up to eight months and Scalibor collars work for up to six months. In addition, these collars do not have the bad odor that other collars have.
Topical treatments are applied to the animal’s skin, typically near the shoulder blades where the animal cannot lick the product off. Most topicals work by spreading across the animal’s body via the oils on its skin. It is important to not bathe your animal or allow it to swim for 2-3 days before or after applying a topical so that the product has a chance to get established. We have a few different brands available. Frontline is very effective on ticks, but we only carry Frontline for cats because we have seen decreased effectiveness on fleas in our area. We also have Advantage Multi which kills fleas, heartworms, and several intestinal worms but does not protect against ticks.
Flea and tick prevention is very important, and we have enough options available that you will surely find one that suits your needs. Please contact the clinic or stop in anytime during business hours to get flea and tick prevention for your pets. Your pets will appreciate it! :)
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