Preventive Care

Flea and Tick Control

Sometimes little things can cause a big problem, like fleas. When discussing flea control for your pet, our practice will help you review all of the options available and suggest what might work best for you and your pet.

Removing fleas from your pet and your life requires a three prong attack:

  1. Our practice rids your pet of active, adult fleas
  2. We attempt to stop any immature fleas from maturing into adult fleas.
  3. We help you develop a plan to remove fleas from your home and yard to avoid re-infestation.

The most common way to maintain flea control over a longer time is “spot on treatment.” This requires applying a small amount of a liquid directly to your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Effective for adult fleas, these treatments can also inhibit egg and larval development to end the life cycle. There are several oral flea preventatives that are also available, which kill all life stages just as the topicals do. 

Generally, year round treatment of your pets will control your environment so that no environmental treatment is needed in most households. However, when dealing with a new infestation, controlling fleas in your home and yard can make a big difference. Inside your home you want to regularly wash all pet bedding and vacuum your floors and upholstery. You can put a gaseous flea collar in your vacuum cleaner bag to ensure that fleas die and don’t crawl out to re-infest. For extreme problems, you may want to use a fogger, apply insecticide or contact a professional exterminator. In your yard, insecticide spray may help to rid your yard of fleas. Keep the grass in your yard mowed and underbrush to a minimum.

Fleas can also transmit Typhus, a bacterial disease, to people. Murine Typhus occurs in the southern United States, particularly California and Texas. There was a case of Typhus found in Manhattan Beach in 2013. It is often seen during the summer and fall. It is rarely deadly, but prompt antibiotic treatment will cure nearly all patients. Symptoms of Murine Typhus may include: abdominal pain, backache, dull red rash that begins on the middle of the body and spreads, high fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Sometimes fleas are more than just an irritant to your pet, they can be downright harmful. The risk of severe anemia from blood loss can occur especially among very young pets. Fleas also bring a higher risk of tapeworm. Your pet may have an allergic reaction to fleas called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. It can cause skin flaking, severe itching, scratching, chewing and breakage of skin. In order to get the skin allergy under control even after the fleas leave, allergy medication or even steroids may be required.

Never use any flea medication without first consulting our practice. Flea medication for cats is different than that for dogs and bug repellent for humans is unsafe for all pets.