Pet cares

Stop cat fleas in their tracks

Mount Laurel Veterinary Hospital Emergency Veterinarian Joseph Snock, DVM, talks about the spike in flea cases he’s noticing and how to better communicate adherence to clients

When customers think of flea prevention, they typically associate flea season with the summer months. The weather provides a warm environment for flea eggs to hatch safely outdoors, which puts dogs or cats that spend time outside the home at higher risk.1 However, fleas are a year-round threat, depending on what state you or your clients live in, and can affect their infestation risk and treatment plan.

How do you get your customers to understand the risk and put their pets on the right path to flea prevention? In an interview with dvm360®, Mount Laurel Animal Hospital emergency veterinarian Joseph Snock, DVM, explained why prevention is crucial to help combat what appears to be an increase in flea cases.

“I’m definitely seeing more flea cases this year, especially the highest number of flea cases in the winter. With a lot of patients coming in, the owners aren’t quite sure why. [their pets are] have itchy or different episodes [dermatotic cases]and then we find out that the fleas want to come in,” Snock explained.

Prevention

Emphasizing the importance of compliance in preventive care is crucial for veterinary professionals. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, every cat should be treated year-round and throughout their life with flea control products to limit infestations on the animal and prevent the establishment of a flea population in the home. of the owner.2

When it comes to prevention, membership can be tricky for cat owners because their pet is an “indoor only cat”. Because the cat does not leave the house, there seems to be no risk, which makes it difficult to adhere. But Snock stressed that was not the case.

Snock recommended year-round prevention as a treatment plan for cats. “A lot of people don’t realize that fleas will hitchhike [such as on] the family dog ​​or on the people themselves, and so they’re always exposed that way,” Snock said.

“The other thing I would tell people is that a window, that has like a little crack, or like a little gap at the bottom of your door, doesn’t seem very big to you, but for fleas, it’s It’s a football pitch,” he added.

Treatment

Because fleas live fast and reproduce quickly, if they are not warned early, it is important to catch them early. Fleas, especially cat fleas, consume up to 15 times their body weight in blood per day and female fleas use this blood to produce up to twice their body weight in eggs per day.3-5 With this very high time frame, it doesn’t take long for a flea infestation to spiral out of control in the owner’s home. This can cause embarrassment and less bonding with the pet owner as they will want a quick fix quickly. For some owners, hitting the shelves at their local pet store or turning to Dr. Google is unavoidable.

Customer education

To prevent infestations from getting bigger or pet parents using products that aren’t helpful and could be harmful, Snock suggested recommending preventative and treatment products to customers.

“I like flea meds, so a lot of orals like Bravecto, for example…I think they kill quickly. They tend to kill very quickly and they can be relatively effective. Other than that, I mean, hot topics that I usually recommend would be things like Revolution,” Snock said. “And I like the Seresto necklace.”

Snock also urged pet owners to talk to their veterinarians about proper flea control.

“Don’t just go and buy something off the shelf that you’re not sure what it is because there are a lot of products on offer that weren’t effective, but then they’ll say they do. flea control, so a lot of pet owners say their pet has fleas and ticks when they really don’t,” Snock said.

References

  1. Meyers H. When is flea and tick season in your state? American Kennel Club. March 2, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/whats-your-states-flea-and-tick-season/
  2. 2022 Annual Pet Parasite Forecast. Pet Parasite Council. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://capcvet.org/articles/2022-forecasts/
  3. Rust MK, Dryden MW. The biology, ecology and management of the cat flea. Annu Rev Entomol. 1997;42:451-473. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.42.1.451
  4. Blagburn BL, Dryden MW. Biology, treatment and control of infestations by fleas and ticks. Vet Clin North Am Small Animal Pract. 2009;39(6):1173-viii. doi:10.1016/j.cvsm.2009.07.001
  5. Dryden MW. Host association, longevity on host and egg production of Ctenocephalides felis felis. Veterinary Parasitol. 1989;34(1-2):117-122. doi:10.1016/0304-4017(89)90171-4