Winter is over, the flowers are blooming, and with the warm weather comes a rather unwanted side effect…fleas come out of hiding! This time of year, it is especially important to protect our canine and feline companions with an effective flea and tick preventative to keep them happy and healthy through the warmer months.
Fleas are not only a disgusting pest for us humans, but are also a significant health risk for our pets. Animals can suffer from flea allergy dermatitis, the most common skin condition in dogs in the United States and one of the causes of feline military dermatitis. When feeding, fleas inject saliva that contains a variety of histamine-like compounds, causing an allergic reaction and strong itching sensation. Large amounts of fleas, as they are blood-sucking parasites, actually can cause an anemia in our companion pets, leading to lethargy, inappetence and exercise intolerance. Fleas also carry tapeworms, and when ingested by a dog or cat can transmit a tapeworm intestinal infection to our pets.
Treatment of fleas has become much simpler with the invention of oral flea medications. One of the best options for an active flea infection is an oral pill, Comfortis. The active ingredient in Comfortis is spinosad. This drug affects the nervous system of insects, causing death. It works within 30 minutes of administration, and 98-100% of adult fleas are killed within 4 hours. The additional benefit to a Comfortis administration is it lasts in the pet’s bloodstream for a full month, helping to prevent reinfestation from the environment during that time.
When it comes to fleas, even better than treating them is PREVENTING them from entering your home! Comfortis can be used monthly in our pets, both canine and feline, to help protect against flea infestations. Another flea preventative that we like for our feline companions is a topical product called Revolution. The active ingredient in Revolution is a drug called selamectin. Revolution is applied on the skin between the shoulder blades, and is then absorbed into the bloodstream for systemic distribution. In addition to flea protection, Revolution also protects your cat from heartworms, ear mites, and intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms, making it ideal for our indoor and ourdoor feline companions!
With the addition of Bravecto to our arsenal of flea and tick prevention, parasite control for our canine companions has become much easier! Bravecto is an oral chew that has been shown to be protective against fleas AND ticks for 12 weeks. Fleas die within 2 hours after arriving on a host. Being an oral chew, it is also very easy for administration as there are no bathing or swimming restrictions, and doesn’t cause any allergy reactions on the skin at an application site. If you would like to further discuss flea prevention options for your pet, don’t hesitate to give us at Mt. Carmel Animal Hospital a call to determine your spring and summer plans!