We believe this to be the most over treated problem in veterinary medicine. Our philosophy on our “risk-reward” ratio for drugging our pets is that it is not worth routinely treating our pets with flea treatments every month unless there is a great enough suspicion that a problem actually exists. By all means if one of our clients were particularly concerned over the possibility of their pet getting fleas and would prefer to use a preventative – then that’s OK. In this case we would recommend using Advantage or Comfortis on a monthly basis as these are the best two flea treatments available.
The majority of our team personally don’t particularly mind our pets getting a flea or two as they are then simply treated for a few months and then left until the emergence of a new flea. One of our canine case study clients only required treatment twice in 10 years! She merely didn’t seem to be in an environment where there was a problem.
By not routinely treating for fleas when you don’t really have to achieves two things:
- Firstly, a reduction in what could have been a lifetime of potentially toxic drugs in your pets system and;
- Secondly, a savings of approximately $140 per year
We would rather our clients spend this sort of money on pet insurance rather than products a pet doesn’t really need, so if we need to repair a severely fractured leg, or treat an aggressive cancer for potentially thousands of dollars, the patient is now well looked after!
Three things to look for:
- The fleas themselves. Part the hair near the rump and search for small black insects. They’re fairly obvious
- Flea dirt. Flea faeces look like tiny black specs that are actually curled on close examination
- Excessive scratching that is unusual for your pet. Allergic pets may only require one flea bite to start scratching excessively for potentially days to weeks. If your pet is actually allergic to fleas you may never see the flea, just excessive scratching. Trial treatments with Advantage in these cases are worthwhile.
What is the Best Way to Treat my Pet for Fleas?
If you are seeing fleas or are suspicious of fleas, we recommend Advantage or Comfortis. These “top spots” have changed the way we treat fleas from years gone by. In the past we would use flea washes or flea powders, flea bombs around the house etc. With these effective top spots our pets have a month of effective continued treatment. Flea collars are a waste of money!
Flea treatments are up to the individual, however we generally advise that routine treatments are not necessary (unless there is a history of ongoing flea problems).