Halloween is still a month away, but many of our clients have been seeing blood-sucking monsters in their homes for weeks now. The flea population outdoors is heavy this time of year, and often that means that as your favorite pet moves in and out of the house, the population can be growing inside your home too.
Veterinarians hate fleas for all of the same reasons that pet owners do: they spread disease, they make pets ill, they trigger allergies and they make pets (and people) itchy and miserable. And they can be incredibly frustrating to get rid of.
There is a reason that these tiny pests have survived (thrived!!) on this planet for thousands of years. They are ridiculously small (the body is the size of the tip of your pen), they have a hard protective shell, they lay hundreds of eggs at a time (within hours of landing on your favorite pooch), and their offspring can live as pupae in the soil or in the home for months at a time. Adult fleas suck blood from the dog, at the same time laying eggs which fall off the dog as he runs through the house. These eggs hatch over time and develop into pupae (which are incredibly difficult to kill), then larvae, and eventually into adults which use pets as nourishment to start the cycle all over again.
No wonder we are in battle with these parasites. We have many factors fighting against us: sheer numbers of pests, cost of control, difficulty in effectively killing the flea, and the fact that our dogs get re-exposed every time they run outside to potty.
So is there any good news in all of this??
We are happy to tell you that as a whole, our profession is now armed with a variety of products that are effective in killing fleas and preventing future infestations. Flea baths are becoming a thing of the past, and drugs that we give once that last for 3-4 weeks (or even longer!) are the way to go. We have several oral medications that last from 4 weeks to 3 months. We also have a collar that kills both fleas and ticks and lasts up to 8 months.
There are so many products out there that many of our clients are overwhelmed with options. Every family’s situation is different; some dogs take pills, others are better about a liquid applied to the back or a collar. Some dogs need tick prevention as well as flea control. Our job is to help you develop a plan of attack to keep your family healthy. There is nothing that makes us happier than to see your home flea-free for now and for years to come.
If you are in the face of a flea infestation in your home, a dual-attack approach is necessary. This often means treating all of the dogs and cats in the home every month AND flea bombing the house, too.
Please stop in and see us, we are your resource for flea control!