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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yes, You Really Are Doing It Wrong

This week I was reading an interesting article in one of my journals. One of the premier flea experts, Dr. Mike Dryden (whom I've mentioned before) has been doing a study on flea control. He went to Florida, the state with the biggest flea problem in the US, and visit the homes of around 30 people who were having flea problems and said that their flea prevention products weren't working. Dr. Dryden studied the environment and what the clients were doing to control the fleas. In every single case, he found that there was a problem with client compliance. The lack of flea control was not a problem with the product itself, but with how the client was using it or how they were treating (or not treating) the environment. Remember, these were all people who thought they were doing things correctly and were convinced that the products simply didn't work.

This is yet further proof to me that these products really are very effective. Every single day we talk to clients who honestly believe that the prevention we sell them isn't working. But I can find fault with how they are using things in well over 90% of the cases. Just today we had someone call our hospital complaining about Advantix. They had put a single dose on a week ago and were still seeing fleas. This was their first time using any flea products this year. We had to have a long discussion with them about expectations and the flea life cycle. Dr. Dryden's study supports this view of clients simply not doing what they should be.

Unfortunately, it's hard to convince them of that. Flea control can be much more complicated that people realize, and waiting until you see fleas is too late. Check with your vet and find out when flea season begins in your area (or if it is year-round), and then start using a veterinary-recommended product at the beginning of the season before you see fleas. If you see fleas despite using these products, be sure to talk to a vet who truly understands all of these factors and get advice. The data continues to mount that if a product doesn't work it's not a failure of the prevention, and you really are doing something wrong.