Cats Medical issue

Published on September 21st, 2012 | by Debbie Martin


Flea Treatment Efficacy is There an Issue?

This summer our trained staff members have been inundated with calls concerned with the efficacy of flea spot on treatments for your animals and it would appear this is with both cats and dogs. It has prompted us to do a bit of digging into what we feel is going on.

It seems that there appears to be a lot of information floating about the World Wide Web suggesting that products such as Frontline just don’t seem to be working anymore. The recent so called summer we have been experiencing has caused quite a problem for many pet owners this year as the damp weather has caused somewhat of a flea explosion. However the major manufacturers such as Merial who produce Frontline are advising that they have seen nothing to back up the claims that the fleas are becoming immune to any of these products. Their own clinical studies as well as the clinical studies of some of their competitors are showing that these products are still as effective as when introduced.

Many including Dr Michael Dryden, a professor of Veterinary Parasitology are suggesting that there are several factors why this is appearing as a common belief among pet owners at the present time.

Most people seem to forget, or aren’t even aware that only 5% of the fleas in any infestation are actually on the pet, which means that the other 95% are elsewhere and it is often these that get neglected and forgotten and so the cycle restarts and continues to be a problem. There is it would seem a lack of understanding of the actual life cycle of the flea and misconceptions about how the flea treatments work and what they can actually achieve. For example we hear of many people that think these products are repellents and will stop fleas from jumping onto their pets, and we must emphasise that this is not the case and animals can still get fleas jumping onto them, however if the animal has been treated then that flea will be killed within the 24 hours.

We have already discussed in detail the methods and how to protect your pets and family from flea infestation in an earlier post here, so we won’t go into that in any great detail again in this one. However, we do feel that it is important to emphasis some of the key areas again.

  • Treat all the animals in the home, not just the ones that have fleas
  • Make sure that the treatment is consistent and is repeated at the recommended intervals, even throughout the winter months not just flea season.
  • Ensure that you treat the home as well as the animal, remember 95% of the infestation is likely to be elsewhere ie. Bedding, and areas were the animals regularly lay.
  • Give the treatments time to work, even the experts say that a flea infestation can take up to three months to control and eradicate.
  • Don’t rest on your laurels, just because they have gone doesn’t mean they can’t come back.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

2 Responses to Flea Treatment Efficacy is There an Issue?

  1. Pat Baldwin says:

    Please advise me on treatments for the home itself re cat fleas.

    • Debbie Martin says:

      Hi Pat

      There are many treatments that you can use for treating and protecting the home, you might want to take a look at something like Indorex – this household insecticide can be used to control and inhibit the fleas life cycle in the home. This can provide on-going protection for up to 12 months and is a firm favourite with pet owners across the UK (voted ‘Testers Choice’ in the Your Dog Magazine for 2011).

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