Cat Flea & Tick Control

It’s a whole new world of flea control in Cats!

The last sixteen years have ushered in a number of revolutionary flea and tick products. No longer are we stuck with sprays and foggers that killed some adult fleas and flea eggs but never solved the problem.

The doctors of Kirkwood Animal Hospital have for years recommended integrated flea control as the best way to keep your pets safe and healthy and your home from becoming infested with fleas. The longer these products are on the market the more we learn about their effectiveness. Kirkwood Animal Hospital has always recommended and carried the best flea products. Based on scientific research and on our clinical experience these products are the most effective products we can find.

Integrated Flea Control means using a combination of two different types of insecticides, which target the different stages of the flea life cycle:

  • An adulticide to kill the adult fleas you can see on your pet
  • An insect growth regulator-IGR’s, birth control for fleas – kills fleas before they become adults.

This strategy allows us to control the adult fleas, which are causing your pet itchy skin and discomfort, as well as prevent a flea infestation in the home environment.

Our Integrated program for Cats includes:

  1. Treating all the pets in your home, cats with a topical insecticide and an IGR – Revolution® for your cat applied every 30 days. Revolution® controls:
    • Adult Fleas and is an IGR for larvae to keep them from becoming adults
    • Heartworm disease
    • Intestinal parasites (roundworm and hookworm)
    • Ear mites
  2. Your environment… If necessary treatment of flea nests in your home and yard.

Flea nests and the wild animal reservoirs. Fleas stay on a number of different animal outdoors including cats, raccoons and opossums. These animals shed flea eggs by the hundreds onto your yard. You may also have to treat problem areas in your yard. Call our office for more details – 314-965-2660.

Why is flea control so important to my Cat?

Fleas carry diseases and internal parasites such as tapeworms. They are a nuisance to the pet and the family, and can result in flea allergies and severe skin infections. Integrated flea control can prevent and treat flea infestations and the health problems associated with them.

If I only saw one flea, should I be concerned?

Adult fleas start feeding within minutes of finding their host. These irritating insects feed on blood. Egg production can start in as little as 24 hours and an adult female can lay 40-50 eggs per day. The eggs drop off the host and into the carpeting, dog beds, furniture, etc of the home. There they mature through the larval and pupal stages of the lifecycle. The eggs, larva, and pupa are almost invisible to the naked eye. The adult fleas you can see represent about 10% of the total flea population. This is why integrated flea control is so important to keep your pets and family safe.

I am currently on integrated flea control, but today I saw a flea. Is my strategy failing?

Due to the extreme weather conditions we have experienced this spring and summer, with warm wet days, we are seeing a larger population of fleas in our neighborhoods. It can take up to 6 hours for the topical products to kill fleas. You can feel secure if you are using integrated flea control as directed by your veterinarian, those fleas will be killed. If your pet is flea allergic or is bothered by these fleas, we can offer a rapid kill oral tablet called Vectra® that will kill adult fleas in 20 minutes.

If you have any questions about our integrated flea control, or about protecting your individual pet, please contact the office for an appointment. 314-965-2660.

Tick control is not flea control in Cats! Why?

  1. Ticks are harder to control than fleas because ticks are present everywhere in the environment. It is also virtually impossible to control ticks outside.
  2. There is a major difference in your ability to spot flea infestation on your pet and your ability to spot tick infestation. A hypothetical example: You applied a broad-spectrum flea-tick product to your cat three weeks ago. Due to the natural half-life of the compound, the product is now at 95% efficacy. The cat gets out of the back yard and runs through the neighborhood, crawls under a flea infested porch or two and encounters 50 fleas. The product kills 95% of those fleas within the next 24 hours leaving 2 – 3 fleas on the cat. Most likely you will not even notice those fleas (exactly why Kirkwood Animal Hospital recommends keeping your pet on Revolution – all year long to prevent your home from being infested) However, the same cat takes off across a field and runs through a local woodlot and encounters 50 ticks. You will most likely have no problem noticing 2 – 3 engorged ticks a few days later?
  3. Finally, it must be remembered that treatments aimed at eliminating existing tick infestations are frequently applied too late to prevent disease and distress in pets. Depending on your pet’s exposure to ticks (going to the lake, wooded areas, etc.) they would benefit greatly by being placed on preventative tick control EasySpot™ throughout their life.

Controlling tick infestations is important not only because ticks are nuisance parasites of dogs and cats, but also because they carry a variety of bacterial and protozoal diseases, some of which are transmissible to humans! Tick control is therefore, a major component of disease prevention and should begin with an understanding of the life cycle of ticks in our area.

Click here for more information about fleas and other common parasites.

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