Due to the mild winter this year, a larger than normal flea population is expected this season. All pets, whether they are indoors or outdoors, are at risk and will benefit from treatment with a monthly flea prevention product. Even animals that never go outside can become infested. A flea’s small size and impressive mobility make it easy to sneak through floorboards, cracks and screens. Fleas can also hitch a ride into the house on your shoes and clothing!

Pets develop itching and discomfort when infested with fleas that can lead to biting, chewing, scratching, self-mutilation and skin infections or “hot spots.” Note that cats, being fastidious groomers, ingest fleas while they clean themselves, so it may be difficult to actually find them on your cat.

A secondary concern regarding ingestion of fleas is it can lead to tapeworms. The larval stage of the worm is carried inside the adult flea. When the flea is ingested, pets become infected with the tapeworms that attach to the lining of the intestine and rob the body of its nutrients. Your pet may have no outward symptoms but parts of the tapeworm may be seen as small, white, rice-shaped segments around the rectal opening, in feces or on your pet’s bedding.

Many pets that visit us with “allergies” each summer actually only have a problem with fleas called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (or FAD). The Bottom line is all animals should be on monthly flea prevention for their own health as well as the comfort of all family members, both human and furry.

We carry several types of flea preventatives including topical (Advantage, Advantix, and Frontline) and oral (Comfortis and Capstar). These products are very safe for your pets as well as safe to use around your children.

Most preventatives need only to be applied or given once a month to be effective albeit they may need to be used more often for severe infestations and in cases of flea allergies. Talk to your veterinarian or our staff if you have any questions about which product is best suited for your pet’s lifestyle.