All pets are at risk for exposure to fleas. Even indoor pets can be exposed because these pests will jump onto you, and then preferentially go to your dogs and cats. The past 2 winter seasons have provided the perfect environmental conditions for fleas to multiply exponentially. For every flea that you see on your pet, there are up to 100 in the environment; and each flea can produce up to 50 eggs daily.
Why is this fact a concern for you and your pet? In addition to the discomfort related to flea bites, fleas can transmit disease to your companions and to you. An infestation of fleas can lead to significant blood loss or anemia in small animals.
Many patients are allergic to flea saliva; triggering a pattern of massive self trauma to the skin long after a bite has taken place. In addition, when fleas are consumed by your pets, they can potentially transmit Tapeworm to them.
Ticks can spread disease to both animals and people, and they are present in our area. Ticks can be very difficult to find because they can be smaller than the tip of a pen. The most common locations for them to embed on your pet are the feet, armpits, and neck. And unlike fleas, ticks can survive in the environment for several years.
There are multiple flea products available to provide protection for your buddy. The safest ones do not contain the chemical Pyrethrin. This product is deadly to cats, and can be toxic to dogs. I do not recommend using this agent at all; but be especially cautious if your canines have any contact with felines, as the cats can lick it off of them. You want a product that will not only kill fleas; but also kills the eggs and larva. For canines, our clinic recommends Frontline Plus a topical product that also protects against ticks. We also carry Trifexis, an oral product which protects against Heart-worm as well; but it is not proven effective for tick control. For felines, we recommend Frontline Plus; or Advantage-multi, which also protects against Heart-worm. We also offer the Scalibor collar that provides 6 months of flea and tick protection. For canine patients that have high tick exposure we also recommend an annual Lyme vaccination. Indoor and outdoor pest control may also be needed with significant pest infestations.
And remember that monthly preventatives should be used year round for your buddies. It doesn't freeze in our area, so these pests are present all year long at varying numbers. Even one missed dose can have serious health consequences for your pet.