Stop those blood sucking ticks & fleas!

It’s Springtime, so this season don’t forget to treat and prevent those nasties that affect our pets.

Flea infestations can have a detrimental affect on your pets health. Apart from being unbearably itchy the constant biting and rubbing can cause flea allergy dermatitis, broken skin and infections. A severe flea or tick infestation can cause a pet to become anemic and very ill.  The paralysis tick can be very dangerous when it attaches to a dog or cat. It affects the nervous system and causes paralysis, which if left untreated it can quickly lead to death.

So what should you use to control these parasites? There are spot-ons, powders, shampoos, sprays, tablets, chews and collars. All of these products work in a different way to eradicate or prevent fleas or ticks.  With so many products on the market the decision can sometimes be a bit confusing and overwhelming on what to use.

There are a few things to consider when you are treating you pets for fleas and ticks. No matter what product you choose to use on your pet the most important thing is to follow the instructions.  Before use, make sure it is safe for your pet, especially when treating young pups, kittens or pregnant or lactating mothers. When treating cats make sure you use a product that states it is safe to use on cats. Cats are highly sensitive to some of the ingredients used in the dog flea and tick products and they can make a cat very sick.  Read the instructions, especially when using spot-ons, to see when it is ok to bath the animal before and after use. Do not underdose or overdose the animal as the products effectivity may be reduced or you could make the animal sick.  It is best to seek advice when using a number of products to make sure that they don’t interact or accidentally overdose the animal.

The biggest downfall of any flea or tick treatment program is compliance.  The only way these products will work is by repetitive use on schedule so that the full life-cycle can be eradicated. Many people stop using flea treatment products once they stop seeing fleas. It only takes one female adult flea to be brought into the environment for hundreds of eggs to be laid and another outbreak to begin. Therefore the best way to stop your pet from getting fleas is to treat your pet year round. It is important to continue treating your pet even if you don’t see fleas on them because there may still be eggs and larvae waiting to hatch. Also make sure that you treat all pets in the household at the same time, even if you only see fleas on one of them. If you don’t treat all your pets you will never get the infestation under control.

A good first step to treating a flea or tick infestation is to give your pet a bath with a flea treatment shampoo. A flea shampoo will immediately kill the adult fleas, lice and ticks. There are also shampoo’s like Fido’s Fre-Itch Rinse Concentrate, that are useful in controlling fleas, lice and for tick prevention because they can prevent tick attachment for up to three days.  Another good first step to kill adult fleas on your pet is Capstar Tablets.  These tablets can be administered when fleas are seen on the pet and work quickly to kill them. However, these products will not prevent re-infestation as it only kills what is on the animal at the time of the bath and as soon as they come in contact with fleas, eggs or larvae they will have another flea infestation.  Therefore a flea shampoo and Capstar are best used in combination with another product like a spot-on, tablet or chew, for a more effective and long-lasting preventative plan.

Spot-on preventatives and treatments are a very popular and easy to use choice to control external parasites like fleas, ticks, mites and other biting insects.  If being used after a bath it is essential to wait until the pet is completely dry before using the spot-on.  It is also best to wait a minimum of 24-48 hours, or as per directions,  after using the spot-on before bathing. Spot-On treatments like Bravecto Spot-On for Dogs offers 6 months flea and paralysis tick protection and controls brown dog ticks for 12 weeks. Bravecto Spot-On for Cats controls flea and tick infestations on cats for 3 months and the Bravecto Plus Spot-On for Cats provides treatment and prevention of flea infestations for 3 months, paralysis ticks for 10 weeks and also provides heartworm, intestinal worm and ear mite prevention.  Frontline Original, Frontline Plus and Advantix have been around for a long time now for controlling ticks and fleas on dogs. You must keep in mind these products are only effective for two weeks against the deadly paralysis tick and give one month protection against fleas and brown dog tick.

There are also a number of newer products on the market available in chew or tablet forms that provide combined flea and tick protection with some even providing complete coverage against heartworm, intestinal worms and mites as well. Popular products include Bravecto Chews for Dogs controlling tick and flea infestations on dogs for 12 weeks. Simparica for Dogs is a monthly chew that gives flea, tick, mange and mite protection. Nexgard Chews are a monthly chew for flea, mite and tick protection for dogs and NexGard Spectra gives the added protection against heartworm, intestinal worms and mites.

It is very important that you check the label and make sure you know what the product you are using provides protection for. Some products only give protection against fleas, while some cover ticks and others may protect against heartworm, intesintal worms and/or mites.

There are also other flea and tick preventative products like collars, rinses and sprays that can be used in combination with other flea control products.  There are many collars on the market, like Kiltix Tick Collars and Seresto, that can be used on dogs to aid in the control of ticks and fleas.  Permoxin is an insecticide and tickicide used to prevent tick attachment for up to two weeks and control and repel fleas for up to 20 days.

Please remember that all of the tick prevention products are not 100% effective in preventing tick attachment. It is very important, especially in paralysis tick areas, to check your pet daily and remove any ticks and contact your veterinarian if you find ticks or if your pet is unwell.

If  your pet is suffering from a severe flea or tick infestation please contact your veterinarian for advice and treatment options. If you see any signs of weakness or paralysis get your pet to a vet immediately as early intervention is incredibly important when dealing with tick paralysis. The best treatment for fleas and ticks is always prevention, so consider using one of the products that are available to keep your four-legged friend parasite free.

If you need assistance in deciding what product may be best for your pet please contact the friendly and knowledgeable service team at vet-n-pet DIRECT.

Until next time,

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Author: Bec

From a very young age Bec has always had a great love and appreciation for all animals. Bec is a qualified Veterinary Nurse and also has a Bachelor in Applied Science Animal Studies with special interest in Wildlife and Recreational Animals. Her studies have been put to good use working in various animal industries including small and large animal veterinary clinics, horse studs and the family cattle property. Horses have played an important part in her life, living on a horse stud and caring for horses throughout breeding, foaling, spelling, racing and retirement. Bec is the proud mum of two gorgeous girls, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, a cheeky cockatiel, chickens and many horses including a naughty little pony.