"There is a purpose for everything under heaven"
Hmmmmmmm.......................What about fleas?
What purpose is there to them....can you think of any?
As a vet, the first thing I think about is the misery they cause known as FAD. Veterinarians recognize FAD (flea allergic dermatitis) by the way it looks and by the location of the itch and the skin sores--typically the rump, the tail, inner thighs and groin.
- It just takes one flea bite to trigger this miserable reaction in a pet allergic to fleas
- After injecting its saliva and introducing allergic proteins into your pets blood stream-the flea jumps off your dog--just like mosquitoes or bees do- once they've caused the allergic reaction.
- Many pets in Southern California have allergies, and in addition to being allergic to all sorts of things in their environment they are allergic to to flea saliva, developing itching and rashes lasting several weeks from a single flea bite. This is the reason we usually don't even see the culprit on the pet.
- the image is courtey of Google image search engine. Beachvethospital does not claim any copyrights.
If your pet has FAD, I recommend scheduling a consultation. The intense itching causes skin infections, which will get worse causing your pet misery, and need to be treated--usually with anti-inflammatory drugs, medicated baths and antibiotics. They will not get better on their own
Since I haven't been able to get God on the phone... unlike other people ,I don't have her on speed dial, so can't ask her why she created fleas- I will dedicate the rest of this post to figuring out how to best wage war on them ...as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Fleas do not live on dogs or cats--you are only seeing the fleas having lunch!
this image is courtesy of Google image search engine, beachvethospial does Not claim any copyrights
Think of fleas seen on the pet as the tip of an iceberg....for every flea sucking blood from your pet, there are thousands laying eggs, hatching into larvae in hospitable warm environments in bedding, furniture, carpeting and outside.....multiplying below the surface.
Step 1> Environmental Control.
If you can see fleas scurrying around on your pet and can afford to hire an exterminator, do!
If not, purchase flea bombs with insect growth regulators (IGR's) to avoid having to retreat the property once the eggs hatch maturing to larvae & pupate, starting the infestation cycle again a month later.
There are products considered nontoxic--such as borate, which desiccates the buggers.
Step 2> Treat the pet
I find Advantage, whose active ingredient is imidacloprid ( a nicotine analogue) generally very effective, so long as it is used properly --every 3 weeks; or Advantix on dogs only- monthly.
Advantage Multi contains imidacloprid and an additional ingredient useful as a heartworm preventative, broad spectrum dewormer and occasionally for treatment of sarcoptic mites.
- It is important to remember that all the spot-on products need skin oils to distribute.
Therefore it is not advisable to apply these spot-on's the day the pet is bathed; because the oils have been stripped off by the shampoo. Wait at least a couple of days after a bath before applying them.
I do not find garlic effective, and high doses are actually toxic to cats and dogs.
- We are seeing good results in pets, allergic to fleas on monthly flea pills called Comfortis.
There are reports on the internet associating Comfortis with seizures. My understanding is that combining Comfortis with high sustained doses of ivermectin ( as a treatment for mites) can lead to seizures due to summation of action on the GABA receptors in the brain.
- We also stock a little Capstar. It is a pill safe for both dogs and cats offering very rapid flea kill- 30minutes. The advantage over the other oral medications, in my mind is that while being a systemic drug Capstar only stays in the body for one day. This means that if there were any side effects-they should be gone within a day, and we have not seen any. The disadvantage, of course, is that the pill has to be given daily which is inconvenient.
- Revolution is a topical product I tend to use for mite treatment in cats and dogs, more so than flea control. Yet, we have some clients reporting that Advantage or Frontline stopped working for their small pet, and yet Revolution does a good job.
We recommend the owner use what works for their pet--there are likely local areas where fleas have developed resistance to some products and not others; keeping in mind that no product used on any pet will rapidly reduce an environmental infestation.
Step 3> Repellent
Advantage or Advantix will kill the fleas, but not before they've had a chance to suck blood. In the process of biting the pet, fleas introduce their own saliva containing protein. Though these topical spot-on's do kill the fleas- it is not soon enough to prevent flea allergic dermatitis (F.A.D).
I find spraying a washcloth with a good repellent pyrethrin product ( I like Ovitrol) and wiping down the skin areas where fleas tend to get on the pet ( the rear) at least once weekly, helpful in creating a "shield" - repelling the nasty things.
Very important: do not use Advantix on Cats!
It is highly toxic to them causing tremors, seizures and death.
We managed to save one of two kittens last week, whose owner mistakenly applied Advantix for large dogs on. Only the larger of the two, a black and white named Moustache made it after spending three days in intensive care.
Here's another mystery of nature: No one knows why they do it.....