Flea Treatments: How They Work

Here at Tipp City Veterinary Hospital, our doctors have done extensive research on which flea and tick products are the most effective and convenient for our clients and their pets. We currently offer two products in our inventory for the control of fleas and ticks in dogs, Parastar Plus and Bravecto.

The life cycle, issues associated with, and control of fleas and ticks is a complicated discussion. We would like to simplify the process with you so you better understand how these products work and what they protect your pet from.

 

Flea

Fleas are a nuisance. We all know that, especially our pets. They cause skin irritation, especially to pets with flea-bite allergies, which leads to scratching and digging. All of that can eventually lead to hair loss, scabs and skin infections if the pet digs excessively. A pet infested with fleas will most likely swallow some live, which will lead to infestation of tape worms in the intestinal tract. When tapeworms shed, they can cause irritation, which may be why your pet is licking or chewing around their rear end. Tapeworms can also be spread to human beings.

Ticks are blood-sucking menaces that spread diseases such Tickas Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more. In certain cases where pets experience an extreme infestation, anemia can also occur. Ticks are most commonly found in wooded areas, but also in long grass or weeds. Ticks don’t jump; they rely on a passing animal to attach themselves to. Keeping your yard trimmed short is a good way to prevent a majority of tick infestations. Once ticks have found a host, they will attach and begin taking a blood meal. It is during this blood meal that ticks transmit diseases.

Check out this video from PetMD to learn more:

What do I do?

The best way to treat and prevent fleas and ticks on your pet is to use a year-round treatment. The two products that we offer in house, Parastar Plus and Bravecto, are administered in different ways and work differently to control fleas and ticks. We’ll start with Parastar Plus first.

Parastar Plus

It is important to remember that neither one of these products repels fleas or ticks, so you may still see some on your pet, if they were infested. Rest assured, the product is working. Applying Parastar Plus is a breeze; simply part the hair on the back of the neck and apply all of the liquid as close to the skin as possible. You can apply it in a few separate areas so it doesn’t all lay on top of the hair. Make sure you don’t give your pet a bath for 24 hours before or after applying Parastar Plus. While it is waterproof, it is the oils in your pet’s hair that help the product spread and when you bathe the pet, you strip these oils out, making the product work harder.

To quote from Parastar Plus’s page for veterinarians on how it works “Fipronil interacts with gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)-gated and glutamate-gated chloride channels in the nervous systems of target species. It blocks inhibitory nerve transmission in susceptible ectoparasites, leading to hyper-excitability and death.” (http://www.parastarpluspet.com/for_veterinarians.html)

Didn’t understand much of that? You aren’t alone! To simplify, fleas and ticks crawl through the hair coat of a pet applied with the product. Parastar will actually seep through the exoskeleton of these parasites, speed up their heart rate, and eventually give them the equivalent of a heart attack. Some clients will state that they have seen more fleas on their pet after applying the product. We expect this, and it’s a good thing. This is a result of the acceleration of the heart rate of the parasite. Not to worry, those pesky little critters will soon be dead.

When it comes to treating a flea infestation on a pet, you have to treat for at least 3 months. This is the life cycle of a flea. You may treat an adult flea today, but their offspring are lying in wait to develop and become a problem. With at least three months of Parastar Plus, a flea infestation should be gone. This is why it is a good idea to keep your pet on preventative all year long. Three months is a long time to wait when your pet has these critters.

Parastar will kill ticks on your pet before they have a chance to transmit deadly diseases. You may still see a tick attached, but it won’t be alive long!

Bravecto

Another option that we offer is a oral tablet for treatment and prevention for fleas and ticks: Bravecto. This product is extremely easy to give and very convenient for pet owner because it lasts three months! That means you only have to give one chewable tablet four times a year, instead of twelve times a year.

Once your pet has consumed a Bravecto chew, the medicine is spread throughout the tissues of the body, just under the skin. When a flea or tick bites, they will consume the medication and will quickly die. This means no more reproducing populations of adult fleas. Ticks will also be killed long before they are able to transmit disease. With Bravecto, you don’t have to worry about applying a topical medications every 30 days, applying it correctly, making sure you don’t touch the area or rub/wash the product off.

So, which product should you use?

Well, that all depends on your pet and your specific situation. Parastar Plus is great because it will kill the fleas and ticks quickly. Fleas and ticks don’t necessarily get a chance to bite your pet before they die, and it certainly isn’t required. The Bravecto is wonderful because you don’t have to give it as often, and it is a tasty chew instead of a liquid that might not go right where you want it.

Whatever your choice is, we have you (and your pet!) covered. Stop by and see us today to learn more.

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