The Year of the Flea!

We have found this year to be an active year for fleas. People who have never had a problem in the past are struggling with flea infestations. Here are some points to remember when deciding how to treat for fleas:

1. If you see fleas or flea dirt (brown specks that turn reddish when dissolved with water) and if your pet comes in your house, you have flea eggs in your house. And since your house does not freeze (hopefully), you have the potential for a recurrent, year round flea infestation. Through cleaning and chemical house treatments help, but it is easy to miss one egg that will go dormant and hatch when you least expect. So, you have to keep flea control up year round! Even if it is freezing outside.
2. You have to treat all animals in the house. Even if you do not see fleas on your cat(s). Cats are good groomers and they can clean away the evidence.
3. There are a variety of products that do a good job with flea control. You have to use them monthly and treat all animals in the house, or your will continue to have fleas. Find a product or combo of products that work for you. We are happy to make a recommendation if needed.
4. Be careful to read the product labels and not use dog only products on cats. Cats are very sensitive to some of the chemicals used in flea products.
5. Animals get tapeworm from fleas. Tapeworms look like pieces of rice in the feces or around the rectum. Call you veterinarian if you see tapeworm and they can prescribe a treatment. However, the risk for reinfection with tapeworm exists if fleas are not controlled.
6. The environment (your house) also needs to be cleaned well and bedding should be washed. There are also sprays to use under your couch cushions or under dog beds which help.

We have been using a few different products for flea control. We have found that products that control a number of internal parasites as well as fleas have been more cost-effective. We have a medication that in dogs controls heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and fleas for about 1/2 the price of an oral heartworm pill and a topical flea medication. Flea medications are much less expensive when bought in bulk. We give a substantial discount if you buy 6 or 12 months at once depending on the product. If you have multiple animals in the same weight range, bulk purchasing is a great option.

The Hardwick Veterinary Clinic takes a long-term approach to flea control and will help you find the best method for your individual situation.

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