Expert Q&A: Fleas

While summer means walks at the beach and fun in the sun, poor pet owners have dreaded fleas to contend with…

21 Mar 2016 By Leanne Philpott Comments

During the warmer months the flea life cycle speeds up, which means if you’re not prepared fleas could invade your furry friend. Dr Liisa Ahlstrom, Bayer Technical Services Vet, answers some common flea questions.

Q: My pet doesn't go outside, do I still need to treat it for fleas?

A: Unfortunately, fleas are everywhere. It is not just the adult fleas that are part of the problem – they only account for about 5% of the flea infestation. If fleas are brought into your house (for example, by a visiting animal), they can survive for a long time in the environment in a very resilient cocoon, known as the pupal stage.

When stimulated by optimal conditions, these pupae will hatch and form adult fleas, which are hungry for a blood meal. Additionally, it is impossible to control animals and wildlife that may enter your backyard, or shed flea eggs near your home. When the adult fleas finally hatch, your pet may be the closest blood meal. Fleas carry parasites, such as tapeworm, and other diseases, so protecting your pet from fleas is important for this reason too. Finally, if your pet does get outside, or when they need to visit the vet or potentially they need to spend a bit of time at a boarding kennel, it is important they are protected.

Q: I don't want to use chemical flea treatments. What are the best Natural Flea Treatments?

A: Flea bites in sensitive animals can cause flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), leading to severe itching, and even secondary infection from self-trauma. Additionally, fleas can carry parasites, such as the flea tapeworm, and other infectious organisms, such as Bartonella and Rickettsia, which can all pose health risks to pets as well as your family.

Therefore it is recommended that a proven flea preventative treatment is used regularly and as directed. Products such as the Advantage Family’s Advantage, Advocate and Advantix also kill fleas fast and on contact, meaning there is a reduced chance of infection with these infectious organisms, and a reduced likelihood of FAD. Additionally, the active ingredient, imidacloprid, in all three Advantage Family products that is effective against fleas is not absorbed into the blood stream, remains on the coat and skin where it’s needed. Products registered for the prevention of fleas are rigorously evaluated for safety prior to approval.

21 Mar 2016 By Leanne Philpott Comments

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