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Fleas are small biting insects common on dogs and cats in warm and humid climates. Fleas can be the cause of multiple health issues ranging from mere aggravation to the pet and pet owner, skin infections, allergic reactions, anemia, intestinal parasites and rarely serious disease. The flea life cycle includes four stages, the egg, larva, pupa, and adult; the life cycle can be as short as 2 weeks or as long as years. Because all stages other than adults live in the environment, control cannot be achieved simply by bathing or dipping your pet.
If you're only seeing one flea, don't be fooled! In a typical room only 5% of the fleas will be found on the pet. However 10% of flea cocoons, 35% of flea larvae and 50% of flea eggs are found in the indoor environment, and every flea seen lays 50-60 eggs each day.
The most effective way of treating fleas is preventing them! There are numerous flea prevention products on the market today. The products we at The French Quarter Vet recommend are Trifexis (heartworm and flea prevention, canine), Comfortis (canine), and Revolution (feline). There may be other options Dr. Scott Griffith will offer depending upon your specific pet's history.
Most other popular over the counter flea preventions such as Advantage and Frontline are simply not effective any longer. These products have been mainstays for many clients and veterinary professionals alike for 10+ years. Unfortunately, in recent years we have been seeing a surge of fleas that are resistant to the active ingredients in Advantage and Frontline.
For outside environmental control we recommend "Over 'n Out" a pesticide that can be purchased at any home improvement store. "Over 'n Out" is technically sold as Fire Ant Killer Granule but is VERY effective in eliminating fleas. Furthermore "Over 'n Out" has a very low toxicity (do not apply where granules may be washed into bodies of water) and provides true residual control for many months. We recommend sprinkling the granules in shady areas, under the house (where applicable), in high grasses, and any other place that fleas will survive easily. As always, follow the manufacturers instructions and warnings. Unfortunately the active chemical that killed fleas in "Over 'n Out" and other products like it can no longer be sold to the public. Because of this, you will need to call a licensed exterminator to treat outside areas for fleas.
For indoor environmental flea control we recommend using any powder containing Precor. Precor is an Insect Growth Regulator that kills flea eggs for 63 days after application. You can use most powders on carpets, tile, and hardwood surfaces. When applying to hardwood surfaces a helpful trick is to use a broom to ensure full coverage and to force powder into the cracks between planks as well as between the floor and base boards. Some products containing Precor are Flea Stop Carpet Power and PreCor 2000 Spray. As always, follow the manufacturers instructions and warnings.
We also recommend a local company by the name of PESTOP. They are a great resource for both indoor and outdoor pest control, carry many of the products we recommend and are found here in New Orleans. Their website is www.PESTOP.com
If you have any other questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask!