Choosing Your Method of Protection
One, two, fleas! With warm weather right around the corner, it’s that time of the year again. Protecting your pet and your home from fleas, ticks, and other parasites can feel daunting. Are you doing it the right way? What is the best way to treat fleas and ticks? The best ways to prevent them? How can you best protect your home?
In this two-part series, we’ll fill in all the blanks as we work with some of the best in the business to give you the resources and information to help you control those pesky little parasites.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is an independent council of veterinarians and other healthcare professionals established to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. According to the CAPC, parasites can affect your pets and home anytime of year. With the warmer weather, your pets may be outside more, but parasites can affect your life year-round. As far as prevention and treatment, flea collars, topical applications, or oral tablets, what works?
We asked Joshua Middleton DVM, Technical Services Veterinarian with Vetoquinol USA, what his opinion was on the available year-round parasite-prevention products. When it came to flea collars, he thinks that, “There have been advances in the technology of many, but not all, of today’s collars. These more advanced collars give full body effectiveness and can kill fleas and ticks for up to 6-8 months.” Which is good because from the time a female flea lays an egg, it can take as little as 2 ½ weeks for the next generation of adult fleas to emerge under optimal conditions.
Topical, or ‘on-spot’ solutions like Frontline® Plus Canine, Paradyne Feline, or Revolution® Puppy/Kitten are once-a-month products that you apply directly to your pet between their shoulders where they can enter the bloodstream through the skin. When we asked Dr. Middleton about topical solutions, he suggested that, “these topical products should not be applied further down the body, near the tail or lower back, where the pet could ingest the product.” There are also topical shampoos and powders on the market, although the protection-duration using these can be as short as a day to a week. Both only eliminate adult fleas and so may not be the best prevention methods.
Oral solutions such as NexGard® Chewables or Sentinel® Flavor Tabs®, both pet-palatable once-a-month prescription tablets, can prevent parasites populations from ever starting. There are several brand options when it comes to oral flea and tick prevention, as this method of administering is on the rise. Research shows, that giving your dog orally-ingested products is the most successful method of preventing parasites and keeping them at bay. In a study comparing owner-administered monthly treatments with oral or topical spot-on treatments, the oral treatments were 11.5% more effective.
The good news is, that most topical and oral programs offer protection from more than just fleas and ticks. Some prevent heartworm disease and treat and control adult hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm infections. Some protect against mosquitoes, lice, sand flies, and mites in dogs. Depending on your location, your pet’s parasiticide needs may vary. If you’re interested in finding out more, ask your vet what they suggest.
It’s up to you and your vet how to treat your pets for parasites. However, it is important to keep up year-round prevention in order to protect your pups, cats, kids, or home. Once a population of parasites takes over, it can be a tenuous and long process to rid your abode entirely of them. Look for more in our next newsletter where we’ll look at how to prevent fleas and ticks from entering your house and what you can do, besides treat your pets, to prevent or handle a hostile takeover.
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