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Friday, July 11, 2014

Confused About Flea Control

Anne has a question to which I'm sure many other people can relate.

Hopefully you can help me since after reading your blog it is clear you have a more accurate opinion than mine ….I currently own 2 short leg jack russell, 1 jack russell and a Basenji.

We all live in Guatemala City and I give them their anti-flea (Frontline or “Pulga Kill) and when ever I can find Heatgard for heartworm. The flea prevention available is not the best and the heatgard is not always available so I decided to buy it from the US (Im thinking 1800petmeds) a year supply of heatgard and advantix…..

I started looking into triflexis and sentinel and the many other pills available that can replace the advantix and heatgard.

*There is one that we have to keep in mind, here there are fleas everywhere so i need a flea prevention method that repels fleas and would prevent any larva to develop.
I am just very very confused, i don’t know if I should use them or stick with what i know and do already? I have been reading online and the more I read the more options/reviews and it gets very confusing.
Any comments or suggestions to see would be very appreciated.

I haven't blogged about flea control in a few years, so I thought it was about time.  Before anyone really delves into today's post (especially to criticize any information) I would recommend going to the search box at the top of the page and put "fleas" or "flea control" as the subject.  Even though it has been several years since I've discussed this in detail the information I shared previously really hasn't changed.  You'll also get a lot of answers to your questions in some of my older posts.

There are a few key points to keep in mind.

1.  If you don't have good environmental control you won't keep the fleas in check.  Besides treating the dog you also need to treat the house and yard, as this is where the eggs and larvae are.  If there are stray dogs and cats or wild animals in the area they can be a constant source of new fleas.  If you have a lot of these animals around your home it will be virtually impossible to have complete flea control.

2.  Any topical medication can be washed off with frequent bathing.  Most of them are waterproof or water resistant, but none of them are shampoo-proof.  If you bathe more than 1-2 times per month you are significantly decreasing the effectiveness of any topical flea preventative.

3.  You want to look for products containing an IGR ("Insect Growth Regulator").  These products will help control eggs and larvae, keeping them from developing into adults.  If the package does not specifically state that it controls eggs and larvae it will only kill the adults and you will have a harder time fixing the problem.

4.  Personally my favorite products are Vectra ( also sold as First Shield in Banfield Pet Hospitals in the US), Advantage/Advantix, Comfortis, and Trifexis.  My opinion is based on research and discussions from two top parasitology specialists, Dr. Mike Dryden and Dr. Byron Blagburn, both of whom are recognized world-wide for their expertise.  Comfortis and Trifexis actually kill fleas faster than any other product, but won't treat anything in the environment or kill stages other than adults.  However, they kill adults so fast that those fleas don't have time to lay eggs after feeding.

5.  Opinions are like ***holes...everyone has one.  I know it can be confusing on the internet, but you will eventually have to make up your own mind.  For any product you consider you can find people who whole-heartedly support them and others who think they are evil incarnate.  Take various opinions with a grain of salt, including my own.  Also keep in mind that someone's opinion is generally worth what you pay for it, once again including mine. At some point you're going to have to decide who and want to believe, as you're not going to find 100% consensus on anything.

Personally I don't like Sentinel for flea control as it doesn't actually kill fleas.  Did you know that?  The main ingredient, lufenuron, prevents the flea larvae from hatching, thus helping to control the population in an area.  But the adult flea lives out its normal life span and will continue to bite on your dog.  If there are warm-blooded animals in the area which can provide a food source for the flea, you will continue to have problems.  This product is only good if you have a family with only dogs and the environment is easy to control.  Even so, if you do end up with fleas and the dog is allergic this is not a good product.

I hope that gives a little bit of help for Anne and everyone else struggling with fleas.