Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital - Flea Information
(Click the "ectoparasites" link above for information about Fleas, Scabies, Demodex and Mites)
Facts about fleas
- Your pet may not be itchy even if there is a flea problem.
- Fleas are the most common parasite of companion animals.
- Fleas are the leading cause of tapeworm infection in pets.
- Fleas are a major cause of skin allergies (a reaction to the saliva of the biting fleas).
- Fleas are difficult to eradicate from your home; one flea lays approximately 50 eggs a day.
- Fleas enter a dormant phase for up to 6 months, during which they are resistant to many sprays, and hatch in a bloom in the Fall.
Over the past three years Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital has been recommending oral flea and tick control medications for dogs rather than the topical applications that we relied on for over 20 years. We have found the oral tablets to be safe, and extremely effective in controlling fleas and ticks. This year we are pleased to offer Bravecto as a topical application for our feline patients. We feel it will be superior to previous topical products in preventing fleas and ticks.
- DOGS: Nexgard, Simparica, and Bravecto are in the isoxazoline family of insecticides (fleas) and acaracides (ticks). They are given as an oral, flavored tablet. In the nervous system, they block ions across cell membranes by inhibiting GABA channels. Prolonged nerve hyperexcitation results in death of susceptible insects and ticks. A difference between GABA receptor sensitivities of insects and ticks in comparison to mammals is believed to be the reason for their effectiveness at very low non-toxic levels. All three products are 100% effective against fleas within 8 hours. Nexgard and Simparica given monthly will kill ticks up to 30-35 days. Bravecto is given every 3 months, but may not control certain ticks the entire time.
- CATS: Advantage is a topical application for fleas only. Up until now, Frontline has been the only available topical preventive for fleas and ticks in cats. However, Bravecto is now available in a topical application and is used for both flea and tick prevention. It is applied every 3 months.
Treating the environment
Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! Vacuuming twice a week for 3 weeks can dramatically decrease the environmental population of fleas. Adult fleas will die in the vacuum bag and the warmth and vibration of the vacuum will trigger eggs in the environment to develop more quickly, thereby becoming more readily vacuumed up later in the week. Make sure to vacuum rugs, hardwood floors, linoleum, furniture, etc.
In addition, you can consider spraying the environment with a product such as Siphotrol (which contains permethrin, an adulticide and insect growth regulator that helps kill flea eggs and larvae).
Call us for advice. We are knowledgeable about our products and can help you determine the best way to manage any flea-related problems in your home.