Flea season is coming – new methods of control

Fun Fact! It has been suggested that there is a central brain mechanism responsible for the generation of the itch sensation in the absence of an itch stimuli. It is possible that sensory inputs from various regions, not specifically related to itch, may be wrongfully interpreted as being “itchy”. What this really means is that if you watch someone else itch or someone talks about something like fleas then you will feel a need to scratch.

I apologize in advance but be prepared to be itchy.

Flea and Tick season is soon upon us. Or more to the point it is “upon” your pets and possibly your home. Although we do see flea problems all year in this part of the world, they seem to escalate in the spring and summer and have their peak effect in late summer. However the best way to prevent the summer outbreak is to think about early prevention. Thankfully there are some extremely effective and very safe products on the market and this year there is a new product just released for flea and tick prevention in dogs.

Nexgard is a monthly soft beef flavoured chewable tablet that is given once a month. It contains the ingredient afoxolaner which kills fleas by over stimulating their nervous system. It starts killing fleas in 30 minutes and in a recent study, killed 100% of fleas within 24 hours. It kills adult fleas before they lay eggs, kills three types of ticks and can be used safely in puppies as young as 8 weeks of age and weighing over 4 pounds, does not leave a residue on the coat or surfaces in the home and can be used safely in house with cats.

There are also a number of other effective products that control fleas, ticks heartworm and aid in deworming. Other oral tablets include Capstar, Sentinel, Comfortis and Trifexis. Topically applied products are Advantage and Advantage multi as well as Revolution. Some of these products work immediately and some are meant as a monthly preventative.

For prevention in cats there is Revolution, Advantage, Capstar and Program injectable.

The best person to speak to about what is the most appropriate product for your pet is your veterinarian. They will consider the overall health and lifestyle of the pet, their history with other products and your long and short term goals.

Fleas can bite your pet up to 400 times per day and each time they deposit a small amount of flea saliva under the skin which is a very potent allergen creating an intense itch. Flea infestations can be fatal in puppies and kittens. Fleas reproduce rapidly and females can lay up to 40 eggs per day. By the time you see fleas, an infestation may already be established in the environment. Fleas roll off wherever an infested animal goes, turning your pet into a “salt shaker” that leaves new sources of fleas around your house and yard.

Like most things, prevention is better than reaction. We can anticipate that our pets will be exposed to flea and the best prevention is to speak to your veterinarian about ways to keep them and the environment we share with them, flea and tick free.