Ectoparasites- Fleas

The most common condition presented to most every veterinarian is a
dog or cat with a skin condition. These can be frustrating to
diagnose and treat, and tend to be chronic in nature. The three
primary causes are inhaled allergies (called atopy), food
allergies, and external parasites. External parasites are called
ectoparasites, and one very common ectoparasite is subject of this

The ubiquitous flea is the scourge of many animals, especially in
certain climates. Within 24 hours after sucking blood from your pet
a female flea can start laying 40-50 eggs per day.

In the not to distant past controlling them required a box full of
products- collars, shampoos, powders, sprays, and bombs for the
environment. These products contained toxic chemicals, and with the
advent of newer products, are rarely used any more.

The new flea preparations are called insect growth inhibitors and
insect development inhibitors. They work by targeting the nervous
system of fleas, and are quite effective. They have been around for
a while and most people know of them- Advantage, Frontline, etc.

There are several new ones that have come out to help here if your
pet still has a problem. A topical one called Promeris, has the
newest generation flea control and might work better if you are
having problems with the more traditional treatments. It also works
on ticks. Here is the link to their web site-

Some people are in close contact with their pet and prefer not to
have a topical preparation which they can be exposed to. A new
product, called Comfortis, can be given as a pill once per month.
This is highly advantageous for many people. It comes in beef
flavored tablets and starts working within 30 minutes. Here is the
link to their web site-

No matter what flea control product you use, the control of fleas
in the environment is important. Vacuum all areas of exposure when
possible, and use Flea Busters powder if needed for carpets. If
your pet spends substantial time outside there can be exposure from
other dogs and cats, in addition to opossums and other wildlife
that harbor fleas. In this situation we recommend using your flea
control medication every 2-3 weeks instead of monthly.

Next month we will finish our parasite series and talk about our
last ectoparasite- mange.

From the doctors and staff at the Long Beach Animal Hospital

3816 E. Anaheim St. Long Beach, CA 90804 USA