Fleas & Ticks, Oh My
Year-Round Concern For Pets
Fleas & Ticks Carry Diseases
This category may be unsettling for some but it’s an important one to discuss. Fleas and ticks carry several diseases. In California right now they have a resurgence of Typhus, a disease caused by bacteria found in infected fleas that can come from cats, rats, opossums and other stray animals.
Where Fleas & Ticks Thrive
Accumulation of trash or overcrowding and poor hygiene is typically associated with the spread of the disease. There is even a tick, the lone star tick which is in East, Southeast, and Midwest United States which if bitten can cause you to have a severe anaphylactic reaction to red meat.
40 Species of Ticks
There are about 40 species of ticks according to CDC. In the Northeast where I live we have 5 specific ones but those numbers are changing due to animal migration. This means ticks should be a year round treatment and not just the summer.
In our animals, we see diseases such as Cat Scratch Fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever, and Anaplasmosis spread. These diseases can have serious, if not life threatening, consequences.
Tick disease is usually transmitted to the host after being attached for 24 hours. Ticks are attracted to carbon dioxide which we exhale. They can remain attached for several days and often times go unnoticed.
Prevention – Are Topicals Effective?
These products include Frontline, Advantage and Bravecto and they are typically applied to back of neck and can last for 4 weeks up to 12 weeks, depending on product. There are numerous others on the market, but these are the most popular.
There has been discussion as to how effective these products currently are, but more so Frontline and Advantage. They can take up to 24 hours to kill ticks, and once a pet is infested it will be very hard to get the environment under control. The thought is that there may be flea resistance to some of these current tropical applied products.
Prevention – Are Collars Effective?
Seresto by Bayer and Scalibor by Merck are examples of collars they are very effective but do need to be placed snuggly against the neck to be effective. They also take 24 hours to kill fleas and ticks.
Prevention – Are Orals Effective?
Bravecto by Merck, Negard by Merial, and Simparica by Zoetis are oral products and have a similar form of action. They are typically monthly except Bravecto which lasts 12 weeks. These products have a label to be used with caution with a history of seizures. However, these orals tend to kill fleas and ticks much quicker than the other products. Often before disease transmission can occur.
The take-home message is to use something as a flea and tick preventative. Ticks and fleas spread horrible diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and take a long time to treat.
Most natural products unfortunately do not work with any consistent reliability.