The cat flea, which infests both dogs and cats throughout the world, can inflict repeated painful bites and cause allergic skin disease in both pets and humans. If you have an allergic pet, just ONE flea bite can cause literally weeks of itching. In addition to creating itchy pets, fleas can also transmit several different diseases, and tapeworms as well. So controlling fleas not only minimizes an itch, but can actually help to prevent disease and parasitism for your pet.
Most prescription insecticides do an excellent job of eliminating existing fleas from a pet after the initial application. This is the first step in flea control, and the most important because this will stop your pet’s discomfort. However, the more difficult part of flea control is providing continued relief from fleas emerging from the infested premises, or wherever your pet’s path might intersect with the path of other domestic pets and wild mammals ranging from rodents to deer. As an example, if your pet is kept in an enclosed home or yard without other pets wandering through, your flea control project will be easier than if your pet spends time wandering outside (like the typical cat) or goes to a park where other dogs have been.
Administration of residual insecticides like fipronil, imidacloprid, and selamectin will kill fleas within 24 hours, before newly acquired fleas can reproduce. Alternatively, the use of insect growth regulators, or IGRs, like lufenuron or methoprene kill developing flea larvae within flea eggs before they hatch. These drugs essentially turn a treated pet into a “living flea vacuum”, where as your pet moves through infested areas fleas jump onto them and are then killed, or their eggs are sterilized (depending upon the product you use). In theory, then, in a closed environment once all immature fleas have developed and emerged, they are killed and the problem is over. The products we carry — Bravecto, Nexgard and Trifexis for dogs, and Revolution and Comfortis for cats— contain both a “flea killer” and an IGR, so they are the most effective products you can find. Bravecto and Negard also kills ticks, while Trifexis (K9) and Revolution (Fe) both also kill heartworms and all intestinal parasites.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM, HOWEVER, IS THE FACT THAT VERY FEW PETS LIVE IN A CLOSED ENVIRONMENT. EVERY TIME THEY CROSS A FLEA-INFESTED AREA, THEY BRING HOME MORE FLEAS. This means that you must consider not only a) how quickly the flea kill occurs but also b) how long the medication will last at effective levels. This is in turn dictated by your choice of medications, oral vs topical dosing, and (especially with topicals) how often your pet swims or is bathed.
The other way to address a persistent flea problem is to recognize that fleas are found, day in and out, in only two areas other than your pet. The first is shady areas of grass or dirt, and the second is on other animals that inhabit those grassy areas. If you exercise your pet on sand or concrete, their flea exposure will drop. If you can minimize your pet’s interactions with other dogs and cats, their flea exposure will drop. And if you can minimize the population of wild mammals in your pet’s exercise areas, their flea exposure will drop.
|BRAND||KILL OTHER PARASITES?||K9/FE?||AGE/SIZE||TIME TO KILL?|
|Nexguard (O)||Fleas and Ticks||K9||> 8 wks, > 4 lbs||98% kill < 12 hrs|
|Bravecto (O)||Fleas and Ticks||K9||> 6 mon, > 4.4 lbs||100% kill < 24 hrs|
|Comfortis(O)||Fleas only||Both||> 14 wk; >5 lb||100% kill < 4 hr|
|Trifexis(O)||Fleas, heartworm, intestinal worms||K9||> 8 wk; > 5 lb||100% kill < 4 hr|
|Revolution(T)||Fleas, Mites, HW/intestinal||Both||K9 >6 wk; Fe> 8wk||100% kill 2 days|
|Advantage(T)*||Fleas only||Both||K9 >7 wk; Fe > 8wk||98% kill < 12 hr|
|Advantix (T)*||Fleas, TIcks, Mosquitos, Mites||K9||> 7 wk||96% kill < 12 hr|
|Frontline (T)*||Fleas/Ticks/Lice||Both||> 8 wk||2-3 days|
|Frontline Plus (T)*||Fleas (IGR) /Ticks/Lice||Both||> 8 wk||2-3 days|
* documented resistance in this geographic area
Nexgard and Bravecto for dogs, and Revolution and Comfortis for cats - contain both a ‘flea killer’ and an IGR, so they are the most effective products you can find. Nexgard and Bravest also kills ticks, while Trifexis and Revolution both kill heart worms and intestinal parasites.