Perhaps the biggest menace of owning a pet is to rid it of parasites that live off its coat. Attempting to control their population on pets is a mammoth task. What are fleas and ticks? They are the most commonly found external parasites on both dogs and cats. Adult fleas have a life of 1-2 weeks and will divide time between living off your pet’s coat and laying eggs. Female fleas lay a large number of eggs which hatch into tiny larvae, then developing into pupae and remaining dormant for months. Fleas can potentially transmit diseases including a certain population of blood parasites. Ticks on the other hand are parasites that bury their mouthparts under your pet’s skin and suck blood. Unfed ticks are extremely small and have eight legs. They can be black, red or brown in colour. Once they cling themselves onto your pet, they can swell to the size of a pea and may be the potential cause of various diseases. Topical control and treatment of fleas To tackle the problem of fleas, you need to treat your pet as well as your house which is why you should administer a combination of topical products to kill fleas. You should also treat the house that prevents eggs from developing into adults. Powder- Ensure that the powder is applied on the coat to be effective. Sprays- The usage of sprays is less frequent ever since ‘spot-on’ treatments have been introduced into the market. However, a pump action spray that contains fipronil is useful for tackling the problem of fleas in young kittens and pups as who spot on treatments are not licensed. Collars- Flea collars can be used to control flea population despite them having a limited range of effect, usually around the collar. Spot-on treatments- These products are available in the market and have proven to be the most effective and the simplest way to treat and prevent flea infestations. They consist of small vials containing a small amount of liquid applied to the neck. Spot-ons kill fleas and some may prevent the development of eggs. The duration of the action differs between product variants. There is a broad spectrum of brands that cater to spot-on treatment for fleas. Oral formulations- Tablets/liquids are available that could be absorbed by the pet which kills fleas when they bite the flesh. Injections- Injections are available to prevent the development of eggs. However, a topical treatment is advised at the same time. Tick treatment and prevention Do not rush to pull out a tick as you may leave mouthparts behind which might cause a sore area of inflammation on your pet’s body. You should instead use a specially designed tick removal tool which would remove the mouthparts as well. Upon removing a tick, check whether its legs and head is present and that there is nothing left at the skin level. You could alternatively buy flea products that also kill ticks and provide protection against them. You should however remember that products intended to kill fleas might not be as effective on ticks.
May 18, 2016