Rats have rights too, according to a recent campaign by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Can the same be said for fleas? PETA officials refused to comment. However, one of the nation’s top flea authorities isn’t a wallflower on the topic. “All fleas should die!” says veterinary parasitologist Dr. Michael Dryden, a professor at Kansas Sate University College of Veterinary Medicine – Manhattan, Kan.
While fleas may persist on earth, they don’t have to continue in your house. According to Dryden, in 1998, consumers spent 1.1 billion to seek and destroy the buggers. Dryden adds, “Most people can protect their pets with a single product. If you live in an area with abundant fleas, integrative flea control – using two products – will work. You no longer need to dip your pet or fog the house. Why bother with dips or foggers when making the right choice of other products will work more effectively?”
Advantage (imidacloprid) and Frontline Top spot (fiprinil): These are both monthly spot on products applied between the shoulder blades of pets. They effectively kill adult fleas by giving them terminal nervous breakdown. If your pet swims, both Advantage and Frontline Top Spot continue to work. Frontline also destroys ticks once they bite. Frontline is also available as a spray.
Revolution (selamectin): It seems this product does it all, killing fleas, preventing heartworm, zapping ear mites and ticks; destroying roundworm and hookworm in cats and fights off the (begin ital) Sarcoptes scabei (end ital) mite that causes sarcoptic mange in dogs. As TV pitchman Ed McMahon might say, “Everything veterinary medicine ever invented is in this little tube.” Revolution is applied monthly from a squeeze tube between the shoulder blades. Paul says, “This is an excellent alternative for people who want an all in one approach or who have multi-pet households where some of these problems be more likely, or who would otherwise lose track of which pet has gotten what.”
PROGRAM (lufenuron): As tough as it may be to give your dog or cat a pill, it’s way easier than trying to convince a flea to take a birth control pill. If a flea bites a pet on PROGRAM, the flea’s life cycle comes to a grinding halt – no flea babies.
Incidentally, Dursban collars have been removed from the market by the EPA because they may be a potential health hazard. Consumers should also know that while sprays with permethrins as an active ingredient may control fleas, Dryden calls the chemical a “catacide,” referring to its toxicity to cats. He advises against using any Permethrin-based spray in a household where a dog can potentially rub up against a cat. Put simply, permethrin can kill cats.
Predicting fleas is tougher than predicting the weather. However, fleas love moisture, and according to Dryden the extremely wet spring weather will no doubt mean an abundance of fleas. “Whether they get in your house and party is pretty much up to you – but you can stop them, and you should stop them,” he says. “Remember, fleas have no rights.“
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