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Fleas - How do we prevent the little blighters from biting?

By Mike Fitzgerald

Fleas can be a real problem over the warmer months.Because we don't see as many clinical signs of flea infestations over the winter months it is easy to think that they are simply just not there - this is not the case though as fleas are found on all untreated animals every week of every month of the year (even if you don't see fleas, they will be there!!) - The flea lifecycle slowly turns over throughout the winter, with immature flea stages building up in the environment, ready to emerge in droves come the warmer weather when the flea lifecycle speeds up.

The flea lifecycle involves the adult flea, the egg, the larvae and the pupae - the tricky thing is that approximately 95% of the flea population lives as immature flea stages (eggs, larvae and pupae) in the environment, the remaining 5% living as adult fleas on animals - this makes control hard. If the flea population is not minimised prior to the 'flea season', an explosion occurs come the warmer months - this means the environment becomes so contaminated that it takes all summer to clear up the problem. In other words, prevention is better than cure - picking up on a flea problem in December means you are a few months too late, and you will end up very frustrated!

Prevention is key - treating all animals in the household (and all working dogs) regularly, will stop the environmental build up, eliminating the time consuming job of trying to clear up a flea ridden household, or working dog accommodation.

An array of new veterinary flea products are avaialble - Nexgard is a chewable/edible soft tablet for dogs, containing a 'novel' compound developed specifically for the veterinary industry. Nexgard kills flea and tick infestations on dogs for 4 weeks, it is a chewable product that dogs love, making administration very very easy. Nexgard begins to kill fleas within 30 minutes of administration, making it an alternative option for those dogs with Flea Allergy Dermatitis, or a very high environmental challenge.

Frontline continues to play a pivotal role in flea control, as do other similar topical products that we stock including Advocate and Advantage. Have you considered a Seresto collar - these collars differ from the traditional (nasty organophosphate) flea collars in the respect that they actually work! Although the initial outlay can appear to be a shock, with an 8 month protection period these collars actually work out to be a cost effective option that really works in working dog teams.

Flea control and getting to the bottom of problem issues can be a real headache - please ring and speak to one of our vets if you have any queries, or call into any one of our clinics and have a chat to our knowledgeable team of staff.

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