St. Charles Animal Hospital

11685 Doolittle Drive
Waldorf, MD 20602

(301)645-2550

scah.us

Flea Control

 

Did you know that the fleas that you see on your pet account for about 5% of the problem! That is why you need a Flea Control Program, rather than just a product to kill the fleas on your pet. Let's review the flea life cycle. Once a flea jumps onto your pet and takes its first blood meal, the flea's metabolism changes and it must continue to feed frequently to survive. (Prior to its first meal, a flea can live for many days searching for food). Now that the flea has food, it wants to stay on your pet - it does not want to jump on and off unless it is disturbed.  Undisturbed, a flea can live for about 100 days. During that time, a female flea will lay hundreds and hundreds of eggs. These eggs are white and slippery. They will immediately fall into the environment (carpet and furniture). Unless these eggs fall onto a shiny surface, you will probably never see them.  What most people think are flea eggs are actually flea droppings!  The droppings look like small black dots or perhaps comma shaped spots that stick to the fur and the skin. If they get wet they will look reddish brown, since they are comprised of digested blood from your pet!  Any time that we see these spots on a pet, we know that the pet has a flea problem, whether we actually find the fleas or not. In your carpet and on your furniture, these eggs hatch into tiny crawling larva.  These larva eat garbage, especially flea droppings!  After a while, they will spin a cocoon, which can survive for a long time and cannot be killed by any products on the market.  Eventually, these cocoons will hatch out a new adult flea and within seconds can jump onto your pet and be feeding again!

Because of this long life cycle (about 3-4 weeks), and because three out of the four stages of the flea's life cycle exist off of your pet, you should not be concerned with a fast killing flea product - instead, you want efficiency.  If one flea survives and is capable of producing viable eggs, then your flea control program has failed.

PRODUCTS - We use (and sell) only 5 flea products:

      1. Simparica – This is truly a fantastic product! It is a once-a-month, chewable tablet for dogs that will last for 35 days.  Where most products start losing their effectiveness towards the end of the third week, this product has almost a 100% effectiveness for the full month.  This drug is extremely safe and is actually less expensive than the other alternatives available.
      2. Nexgard – Made by the makers of Heartgard, with the same taste as Heartgard, it is one of the favorite drugs for our clients (probably because it was the first oral, monthly product to hit the market).  It is for dogs only.
      3. Vectra 3D - This is a new product that will last a full month for both Flea and Tick Control.  At present, it is our favorite TOPICAL product for flea and tick control for dogs.
      4. Revolution - This product is a small amount of liquid that is applied at the nape of the neck, once a month.  Within two hours, this safe drug has been absorbed into your cat's system and starts killing amy fleas. Within 24-36 hours, all of the fleas will be dead. Revolution will then continue to kill any new fleas that jump onto your cat for the next month.  Additionally, if any fleas live long enough to produce eggs, those eggs will never hatch!  Any flea droppings that are produced will also be toxic to any larva in the environment that may be feeding. By killing off three out of the four stages, Revolution very efficiently gets a problem under control (or stops a problem from occurring in the first place).   Additional benefits of Revolution - kills many ticks, effectively prevents Heartworm Disease, kills and prevents ear mites, and will keep most intestinal parasites under control. 
      5. Capstar  - This product has only one purpose - It will kill all the fleas on your pet within an hour.  However, this product does not last more than a day, so it is useful only when you need the current fleas killed really fast!  It will not act as a control drug.

These are the ONLY flea products that we recommend. There are specific reasons why other products are not recommended by us - most of these products lack efficacy or are more toxic. Please feel free to discuss any questions with our staff.