Ask Dr. Anna: Flea control for your pet

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Did you know that a single flea can bite your pet 400 times a day, drink more than its body weight in blood and produce hundreds of eggs each day? Besides causing skin and allergy issues fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pet. When you see fleas on your pet, you are only seeing 5% of their population. The other 95%, (consisting of eggs, larvae and pupae) are living in the environment, such as your carpet, couch and grass. Weather permitting, new adult fleas emerge every 2 weeks. Here are some key steps to successful flea control.

Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.
Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.

The first step in flea control is getting them off your pets. It is very important to make sure that you are treating all the pets in your household even if they aren’t showing any signs of discomfort from fleas. It is very important to find the source of your pets flea problems or else the fleas may just come back the next day! The most effective method for flea control is purchasing a monthly product from your veterinarian because over the counter flea control products are not as potent. In fact, some of these over the counter flea products are even toxic if administered incorrectly or given to the wrong species. I personally recommend a product called Comfortis. This is an oral product that starts killing fleas in 30 minutes, they are all dead within 4 hours and it continues to work for 30 days. It’s compounded from a natural substance that was found on beaches. An even better product is Trifexus, which is Comfortis combined with a heartworm prevention. However, it’s very important to make sure your pet has been heartworm tested before starting this product.

Once your pets have been treated it is important to treat your environment. This is the hardest element of flea control. It’s important to disrupt the flea life cycle so that the flea eggs, larvae and pupae don’t continue to develop into adult fleas. The eggs, larvae and pupae live in dark or shady area of your house and yard. It’s important to wash all pet bedding, vacuum carpets, especially under furniture and in closets, and wash area rugs. Treat your house and yard with an insecticide or better yet, hire a professional exterminator.

Fleas love hot and humid weather which is exactly what we are experiencing here in Guthrie, OK so be proactive and treat your pets and their environment before a medical condition arises. If you pet is itching or has hair loss take them to your veterinarian and get them some relief.

Please e-mail me with your questions at ACoffin@aol.com and put “Ask Dr. Anna” in the subject line or mail your questions to 123 West Harrison Guthrie, OK 73044.

Spay and neuter your pets!

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