Fleas, fleas, Ticks ,Ticks.
It's that time of yr. folks. When people who have not kept flea medication on there pets yr. round become infested. We see it every yr.! I'm going to give a simple talk on proper flea and tick control and why despite doing the right thing you may have problems.There are wonderful products out there today sold by vets and they work and quiet frankly there is no reason pets should have fleas or ticks today. Unfortunately, we have been informed by the state that this will be the worst yr. ever for fleas and ticks due to the mild winter, wet spring and heavy deer populations. See below my recommendations.
First, always use products sold by veterinarians. If a product has gone over the counter it means it has lost it's effectiveness and veterinarians don't use it anymore. Second, do not purchase from the internet as even the most popular so called internet vet pharmacies have been caught selling counterfeit products. You see, none of the drug companies will sell any products directly to these internet pharmacies. They all have to purchase their products from 3rd parties. Veterinarians get their products directly from the manufacturer such as Novartis, Pfizer or Bayer.
In order to achieve the first goal of flea control (providing pets relief from the existing fleas), proper administration of a flea product is essential for the rapid and prolonged kill of those fleas. We often do not understand how important it is to properly administer a flea product. The correct technique should be explained and demonstrated to the pet owner. Remember, correct administration varies depending upon the products selected. Next it is important to understand that veterinarian recommended products are going to kill all fleas that are currently on the pet and may take from 4 hours with some products or as long as 24 hours with others before all existing fleas are dead. The product I recommend most is the oral long acting product Comfortis or Trifexis which is nothing but Comfortis with monthly heartworm prevention in one tablet. Not labeled for ticks but probably effective. They kill fleas in 30 min. For ticks, the Preventic collar is the best product I have seen. There is also a new flea and tick collat sold only by vets that lasts 6 mo. and is effective. We also have other products which are effective.
Many of these flea products not only kill the fleas that are currently on the dog or cat but also provide for prolonged residual activity, often killing fleas for up to one month. In addition some products can also provide prolonged activity against flea eggs, by killing the eggs or preventing eggs from developing or being laid. It is important to understand how these monthly products are going to help us achieve our second goal of flea control, preventing further infestations of immature fleas in the environment while driving the current infestation to extinction.
The pet owner must understand that it often takes several weeks to eliminate a flea infestation. That is because all flea infestations of dogs and cats originated from a flea infested environment and it takes time to eradicate the immature stages living in the carpet or outdoors. There are some basic aspects of flea biology that can have a direct impact the success or failure in the battle against fleas. The worst case for fleas are indoor dogs or cats for the simple fact that fleas lay eggs only on the pet all those eggs (50 per flea per day) fall off in a small area (the house), which is also a controlled environment for fleas to hatch and survive to adulthood. They'll eat a dog or cat alive in a flea infested home. They usually don't feed on humans as long as a pet is in the home. Only 4% of flea eggs dropped outside ever make it to an adult flea due to the hot sun, cold, or dryness. I here those dreaded words everyday "My dog or cat can't possibly have fleas because they stay in the house!" Oh how so wrong they are!
Proper administration of flea products to all dogs and cats every month means no more fleas reproducing and no more eggs dropping into the environment. Simply if fleas cannot reproduce they will go extinct in the home and yard. But if the clients misses treating one pet, skips a monthly treatment or applies the product incorrectly this allows fleas to live and lay eggs, continuing the infestation. It is important to remember that these products do not repel fleas and they do not kill fleas instantly. It often takes several hours, maybe more even up to a day, after these fleas have jumped on treated pets to be killed by the residual insecticide. Therefore clients should expect to see some fleas on their pets for the next 1 to 3 months and occasionally longer.
As good as the new veterinary labeled flea products are, there may still be a need for direct environment control with some severe flea infestations. Such as washing pet bedding, vacuuming carpets, washing area rugs and application of insecticides into the indoor and outdoor areas. This might include the use of pump sprays, directed aerosols, total release aerosols (commonly referred to as Bombs) or the services of a professional Pest Management Specialist.
While many pet owners think of the summer as the "flea season", n many temperate climates flea populations often peak in the fall. The "Fall Flea Surge" often causes increase pressure on flea control programs often leading to perceptions of failure and resistance. The reasons for the fall flea surge are multi-factorial and not well documented. But some of the important aspects of flea ecology do provide some insights.
Please don't wait til you see fleas on your pet before you put something on them! By then there are thousands of eggs in the environment just waiting their turn to hatch. Make sure every pet has something on them or that one pet will serve as an egg factory. I also recommend putting yard products on the yard to kill fleas left by strays, coons , opossums, and such.