We Just Started to "Scratch" The Surface ?? Few things seem
to "bug" pet owners more than fleas and ticks. For thousands
of years these pets have developed and refined their ability
for survival. If we are to control these parasites properly,
we must understand their lifestyles.
very important part of their lifestyle is their ability to
reproduce in great numbers. By producing many offspring they
ensure their continual presence in nature. For decades we
have focused our flea control measures on the adult flea.
It was only a short time ago that we learned how important
the earlier stages of the flea lifecycle was in proper control.
have also recently learned that most of our previous knowledge
of the reproductive habits of the common dog and cat flea
was not completely accurate. It was originally felt that fleas
spent a very short period of their life on the host (our pets)
and the rest of the time in the environment (grass, carpet,
etc.). It is now accepted that most of the lifecycle occurs
on the host and so our approach to control must be integrated
with our pet's habitat.
approach to proper flea control for our pets has taken two
directions. The first is the continual attack on the adult
flea, however with a slightly different twist. This new approach
is to incapacitate the adult flea BEFORE taking a full blood
meal, thus diminishing the chance for egg production. This
not only seems to be very effective in controlling total flea
numbers but also in controlling flea allergy.
allergic symptoms from flea bites occur only when enough of
the "saliva" from the flea has entered into the host's body.
The new topical products (FRONTLINE and ADVANTAGE) will kill
the adult flea before this event happens. These products enjoy
a wide margin of safety for our pets and are very user friendly,
requiring only monthly application. There is no mixing of
chemicals and can be applied without owner contact with the
product. The liquid is applied to the skin on the back of
the neck. Bathing must be avoided 2 days before and after
application to allow penetration.
second approach to flea control is the attack on the egg stage
of the lifecycle. This method is accomplished with an oral
tablet (PROGRAM) that is taken monthly. When the flea ingests
the drug from the pet's blood, the eggs that are produced
will not survive. PROGRAM is also available in combination
with heartworm prevention (INTERCEPTOR), for more complete
parasite control, labeled as SENTINEL.
control of your pet's environment is also important. Carpet
is a perfect breeding ground for fleas. Carpets must be treated
or discarded for proper flea control. Smooth surfaced floors
(wood/vinyl) offer very little protection for the fleas and
their development so are of minimal concern with flea control.
will also live and reproduce outside of your house. The areas
to control are those that are protected from direct sun and
wind where the ground would remain moist for breeding. Flea
control is not as simple as we would like it to be, however,
with the arrival of these new products and continued research,
the battle is getting more effective. Review the lifecycle
diagram of the flea below to better understand the proper
steps in flea control.
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