I have summarized an article from the periodical "Veterinary Practice News" written by the contributing editor Jessica Tremayne. The article was concerning persistent flea problems entitled "Fleas Persist, But the Reason Isn't Resistance". In addition, I have also made some general recommendations that I hope you will find helpful for flea control. The article states several things that I think will be informative and beneficial to you concerning flea control on your pet as well as the environment.
- If the newer topical products that are on the market are being properly applied and have worked in the past for you, the fleas will not be resistant to the insecticide.
- If you are still seeing fleas the problem is that there are new fleas getting on your pet due to fleas being present in the environment (carpet, furniture, seams of hardwood floors, the yard etc.).
The article states that " what clients are likely seeing are new fleas from the environment as opposed to fleas surviving after a proper spot-on application" according to Michael Dryden, DVM, PhD, a professor of parasitology in Kansas State University's Dept. of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology. He goes on to state that "Resistance to spot-on products has never been documented" noting that resistance is likely to happen eventually with commonly used products, but he says it hasn't happened yet.
In a related article discussing treating the environment it states that "after applying a spot-on treatment, an owner can make the mistake of quarantining a pet from its usual indoor activities. This means flea larva living in the carpet and other home environments will seek their first adult blood meal from the closest warm body." The article discusses one owner's account where their Labrador retriever slept under the baby's crib. When they found it had fleas, they treated it with a spot-on treatment and kept it from coming in the baby's room. With no dog to jump on, newly hatched fleas jumped on the baby. The article states and I agree that this is a great example supporting the need to treat the environment along with the pets.
My general recommendations for flea control are:
- Use a topical such as Advantix II for dogs (kills fleas, kills and repels ticks and repels flys and mosquitoes) or Advantage Multi for cats (kills fleas, ear mites, some intestinal worms, and heartworms, but not ticks) once a month. In cats with tick problems, I would recommend Frontline Topspot formulated for cats. Applications need to be started before fleas are seen on the pet if possible (start in February or March at the latest).
- If your pet goes outdoors, then have a professional exterminator spray the environment or recommend a product for you to spray. (outdoors, fleas are most likely to be found in shaded areas or mulched areas etc.).
- If you have a problem with fleas on your pet and the pet comes indoors I recommend having a professional exterminator spray that indoor environment also. There are sprays and aerosol bombs available over the counter for use in the home,but they do not seem to be very effective in a lot of cases I have seen. If your pet sleeps on a rug or any type of bedding that can be washed, I recommend laundering it in hot water.
- If you spray indoors, then prior to spraying vacuum the floors and furniture to remove as many adult fleas as possible prior to spraying. Immediately put the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag, tie it closed and discard it to an outdoor receptacle. About 2 hours after spraying (if using an aerosol bomb or OTC spray, follow manufacturer's directions on re-entering premises), vacuum again and follow the same process as you used before spraying.This process needs to be repeated at least 1-2 more times at 3 week intervals to take care of any hatch-out population.
- If you are having a problem, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to work with you to try to develop a plan that will keep your pet and your environment as flea free as possible.