Mar 01 2016

Flea Facts

  • Florida is a perfect environment for fleas…warm, humid year round, and plenty of hosts!
  • Fleas are insects and as such, have all the life stages of other insects:  eggs, larvae (maggots), pupae (cocoon), and adults.
  • Of the total population in any one environment, only 5% are adult fleas while the eggs, maggots, and pupae account for 95% of the number of fleas.
  • Only adult fleas are parasites of our pets.  The eggs, maggots, and pupae live off the pet in the environment.
  • Once an adult flea finds a host, it does not willingly leave that host or jump from pet to pet.
  • The adult flea must feed on blood in order to reproduce.  After breeding, the female flea lays her eggs on your pet, but the eggs do not hatch until the eggs fall off the animal.  Each female flea can produce hundreds of eggs per day.
  • The greatest concentration of eggs, maggots, and pupae will be where your pet spends most of their time; their bed, your bed, the furniture, localized areas of carpet or grass.
  • The time from the laying of an egg until a new adult flea is formed can range from days to months, depending upon the environmental conditions.

fleaLifeImage

Control

Historically there have been many protocols for flea control including treatment of both the pet and the environment.  Today, there are excellent medications that are safer, more effective, and more cost efficient than any means used in the past.

The best medication or combination of medications varies with each pet and their circumstances.  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses the best combination of available therapies for the maximum result.

We no longer recommend older methods of flea control such as toxic pesticides or the use of unproven techniques such as adding garlic or brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food.

Current methods of flea control on your pet can be divided into two categories:

  • Prevention:  Control of the environment through life cycle inhibition.  Preventing fleas by interruption of their life cycle addresses 95% of the flea population.
  • Adulticides:  Medications that kill only adult fleas (or 5% of fleas present).

Prevention

Lufenuron – inhibits the synthesis of chitin, a protein that exists only in insects and is necessary for the formation of the egg, certain body parts, and the exoskeleton.  Because chitin does not exist in mammals, the chemical is benign to anything other than insects.

For dogs, Lufenuron is given orally once a month in combination with the parasite preventative Interceptor as a product called Sentinel.

For cats, Lufenuron is administered via injection once every six months as a product called Program.  Program is also available as a once monthly oral medication.

Pros

  • Very safe and extremely effective.
  • Is the only true flea “prevention” addressing 95% of the flea population.
  • Treats the environment by preventing infestations off the animal.
  • For dogs, one Sentinel tablet once monthly prevents fleas, heartworms, and the three most common intestinal parasites.
  • Regular use of Lufenuron plus Capstar (as needed) is less expensive than regular use of other adulticides.

Cons

  • Does not kill adult fleas, so is commonly used in conjunction with an adulticide (usually Capstar) as needed.

Adulticides

Products include topicals (Parastar, EasySpot, Frontline, Advantage, K9 Advantix, Advantage Multi, Revolution, Promeris, Vectra 3D) and orals (Capstar, Comfortis, Trifexis).

Pros

  • Adulticides can be an effective means of adult flea control.  At any one time, you will see fewer fleas on your pet.
  • Some of these products are also effective against ticks.

Cons

  • Topicals can be washed off with bathing and swimming.
  • Comfortis and Trifexis commonly cause vomiting.
  • The fleas can live long enough to take a blood meal, breed, and lay eggs before dying, thus contaminating the environment.
  • Adulticides have no effect against eggs hatching in the environment or the completion of the life cycle which means more fleas to become available to infect the pet.
  • Topicals cause the pet to leave residual medication wherever they lay.
  • Residual adulticides have a greater chance of eventual resistance issues.

At Longwood Veterinary Clinic, we believe your Dog needs:

Sentinel every 30 days

o   Sentinel contains lufenuron, the only available flea preventative.

o   Sentinel also protects your dog against heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.

Capstar as needed

o   Capstar works well in conjunction with Sentinel, the only available flea preventative (see below).

o   Capstar can be used on an “as needed only” basis.  Capstar kills 100% of the fleas currently on an animal within about two hours of administration.

o   Capstar’s activity cannot be negated by bathing or swimming.

o   Since 100% of the current fleas die very quickly, there is very little chance of the development of resistance.

o   There are no warnings or contraindications to the use of Capstar.

o   Capstar has a very short duration of activity; twenty four hours for dogs

 

At Longwood Veterinary Clinic, we believe your Cat needs:

Program injectable every 6 months

o   Program contains Lufenuron, the only available flea preventative.

Capstar as needed

o   Capstar works well in conjunction with Program.

o   Capstar can be used on an “as needed only” basis.  Capstar kills 100% of the fleas currently on an animal within about two hours of administration.

o   Capstar’s activity cannot be negated by bathing or swimming.

o   Since 100% of the current fleas die very quickly, there is very little chance of the development of resistance.

o   There are no warnings or contraindications to the use of Capstar.

o   Capstar has a very short duration of activity; thirty-six hours for cats.

OR

Revolution

o   Topically applied every 30 days

o   Provides flea control (adult fleas and eggs)

o   Also protects cats against heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms.

 

If you currently have an infestation, you can shorten the time it takes to control the fleas by taking the following steps in your home:

Vacuum

o   Vacuum ALL floor surfaces (carpet, time, wood) and furniture, especially in areas where your pet frequently sleeps.  Repeat twice weekly for four weeks.

Wash

o   Launder all bedding in pet’s crate, pet beds, and your bed (if your pet sleeps with you).  Repeat weekly for four weeks.

Treat

o   Consider applying boric acid powder to your carpeted areas.  This can be done by a commercial service or you can do-it-yourself.  Once your pet(s) is (are) on persistent parasite prevention, treatment of the environment will no longer be necessary.

longwoodvc | Alerts & News

In the News