Yikes! Fleas!

Author: Emily Burt, Nursing Team

June 2, 2011


Fleas are something that all cat people strive to avoid. While they are not as prevalent in the winter, there is no flea-free season in our temperate climate. And, of course, fleas can live year-round indoors. It is always important to remain vigilant about flea control.

If you notice your cats scratching or grooming more, it might be a good idea to check them with a flea comb. It is important to note that the fleas found on a pet are usually roughly only 2% of the adult fleas in an environment. Additionally, a flea population is commonly 50% eggs at any given time. It is not enough to kill the adults because they will keep coming back. Fleas can cause many different problems for pets, from dermatitis to anemia.

To control fleas, we recommend monthly topical flea treatments. We recommend their use if fleas are present, for all cats that go outside or live with another pet that does, or for those with flea allergies. Available by prescription, Revolution is usually the first line of treatment we recommend because it is effective for 4 weeks per dose and also treats ear mites, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms. We also now recommend Vectra, which is available without a prescription. It is also effective for 4 weeks and kills fleas very quickly. If your cat has a true flea allergy, Vectra may be the best option because of its quick kill.

While flea treatments can be costly, it is important to be sure that you are using a safe medication. Don't ever use anything containing pyrethroids (particularly permethrin) or pyrethrins. They are toxic and can cause extreme harm, even death.

If you do notice a heavy flea load on your cat, it is important to treat the environment as well as your furry friend, otherwise, the eggs in the home will hatch and the fleas will reinfest your pet. Fleago is a safe, natural treatment that you can use without worrying about harm to your family or pets. After vacuuming, simply sprinkle the powder over all carpets, at baseboards, and around sofa cushions. Then wait a week, and vacuum again. For uncarpeted floors, you may want to try a spray such as Knockout, but you should remove your pets from the environment when spraying and be sure to read all safety precautions. If there is a more severe infestation, consider contacting professional help.

Fleas are persistent, but they can be controlled and, in most cases, even eliminated in your home. If you have questions about flea control, please feel free to contact us for assistance.