Flea Revival

Rachel relentlessly begs me to blog on the latest revival of fleas as she clings to my pant leg. Ms. Awesome Receptionist is claiming that we’ve received more calls about flea problems this week than we had in the six months prior. Cat hair collects on her scrubs like a Wet Swifter as I drag her through the clinic reminding her along the way that I will not use the blog to sell product.

Next day; she’s laying in my parking space in silent protest.


After carefully navigating the truck to avoid crushing her under my tires, I lean under the vehicle and surrender. “Okay,” but only if I can share strong opinions and I can violate the 600 word limit – it’s some sort of blog law.

Firstly I’ll say, after decades of dependability, I believe that our tried and true Frontline and Advantage products have lost some of their effectiveness. Considering that a flea lives roughly 60 days, how many generations of fleas have come and gone since the introduction of these products over thirty year ago?

Fleas have adapted through evolution; thank you Mr. Darwin.

I feel the products’ manufacturers know this and as a corporate move to sell more, they’ve taken these products out of the hands of Veterinarians and made them readily available (and suddenly for much less) over the counter.   If not some truth here, then why are these same companies developing the newer and more effective products?

Additionally, the active ingredients (pesticide) no longer “belong” to the companies that unveiled them. The result; other OTC products now may use the chemical found in Advantage and Frontline, but they don’t have the rights to copy the entire formula…so if the box claims they are “just like” them, they’re not. And if we’re assuming the originals aren’t as effective, then these rip-offs aren’t even close.

If you like using topical products, check with your Vet, because with the newest versions of these, the fleas have no resistance. (Activyl, Parastar, Cheristan, and Revolution.)

Newer oral flea control is here too. Trifexis, Comfortis, Bravecto, and Nexgard are the newbies and they are awesome. All work for 30 days killing flea’s dead-fast and with no concern about the product washing off.

Just make sure that whatever you give monthly … kills adult fleas. A common misunderstanding is that Sentinel does this. It doesn’t. There is a growth inhibitor in there that sterilizes the adult flea, but it does not kill them! So Sentinel is an excellent choice for heartworm prevention (its primary intent) if you have a flea problem or don’t ever want one but it MUST BE USED IN COMBINATION WITH SOMETHING THAT KILLS ADULT FLEAS…EFFECTIVELY AND FAST!! (See above.)

Consider too, that a flea problem might not be due to a failure of product, but a flea population overwhelming your pet’s environment. Once fleas gain a foothold, you need to get busy.

There are hundreds of home remedies on line and they will frustrate you. I believe nothing beats a pesticide. After going through a few of these “natural” approaches you will realize this. I’m not very “green” cuz in my house “fleas gotta’ die.” The old flea bombs, collars, dips and shampoos? Forget it, more time and money wasted. The pyrethrins in these can be a hazard to pets too.

The collars, might not kill adult fleas like they used to, but they do break down the flea eggs. So toss a collar in your vacuum bag/canister and vacuum everything your pet comes in contact with; under cushions, floors, bedding… all of it.

Next, the kill!! Your pesticide company of choice, or do it yourself. (Bayer® Advanced Home Pests – they make a similar product for the yard.) And then – this is important – repeat everything in 21 days. Yup, do it again…you’re going to miss some microscopic eggs, coming back in 21 days means you get ‘em again after hatching and before they’re old enough to lay more eggs.

There, brief I know, yet still violated every blog by-law. I’m still hopeful it’s helpful in controlling your pests.

It worked for me; Rachel is smiling.


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