Fleas, Fleas...and more Fleas!

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Fleas are tiny jumping insects who survive by eating blood meals from their hosts.  Fleas will feed off of most animals, including our pet dogs and cats.  And yes, they will bite humans.  Fleas can transmit tapeworms as well as infect their hosts with other diseases.


Fleas can be difficult to see, and even more difficult to get rid of!  Many times, pet owners do not see the fleas which pester their pets.  It’s important to check your pet for fleas on a regular basis.  Fleas like to hang out mostly around the face and neck, lower belly, and around the base of the tail.  Flea combs are very useful not only to look for fleas, but also as a grooming tool.  Use a flea comb to comb around the tail base and neck.  Check the comb for any fleas or flea dirt.  Flea dirt, or flea poop, looks like black pepper.  Since fleas feed on blood, their excrement is digested blood meal.  When flea dirt gets wet, it will turn red or rusty brown.  Many times pet owners bathe their pets and notice what appear to be spots of blood in the tub.  This is usually flea dirt.


Did you know that even indoor only pets can have fleas?  Fleas can be in your yard and ride inside on you or another pet, or you can carry them home from the dog park, pet store, or a friend’s house.  People and other pets can bring fleas into your home or yard.  It only takes one flea to create thousands of fleas within a month.  And their life cycle makes eradicating them a challenge.  Flea eggs can lie dormant in carpet and furniture for months!


And yes, you CAN have fleas in the winter!  Fleas are a year round problem because they can hitch a ride on other people and animals.


Prevention is the key.  Suburban Animal Clinic recommends that all dogs and cats be treated monthly for fleas.  With proper preventative, fleas that jump on your pets will die.


If your pet has fleas, you must treat all pets inside and outside the house for fleas, as well as your house and yard.  If you treat just the affected pet, the fleas will simply move to another pet.  If you treat just the pets and not the home, the fleas will simply feed on you.


First, treat your pets!  Use a veterinarian recommended flea product (see below).  This will begin killing fleas quickly and most will last for 30 days.  You must treat the pets for a minimum of 3 months to hit every part of the flea life cycle.  Use caution selecting a product.  Shampoos are not effective as they have no residual effect and can be very harsh on the pet’s skin.  Many topical flea products found in stores are dangerous.  Flea collars are ineffective, as well as smelly, especially so close to your pet’s sensitive nose.


Treating the home involves several steps:

            1) Wash all possible material and bedding, including pet bedding, in hot water.


            2) Vacuum entire house and furniture.  Not only will this pick up fleas and dirt, but it will also wake the flea eggs with the vibrations.  Although we don’t recommend flea collars for use on pets, you can buy a cheap one to put in your vacuum canister or bag.  When you are finished vacuuming, immediately empty the canister outside the home into a bag, leaving it outside.  Any live fleas can and will get out of the bag and back into your home.


            3) Use a spray, such as Mycodex, on floors, carpets, baseboards and under furniture.  The spray should contain an IGR (insect growth regulator-Mycodex contains the IGR Nylar).  Make sure to get underneath everything as well as in all the cracks and crevices as these are excellent hiding places for fleas.  DO NOT VACUUM immediately after spraying Mycodex!  Mycodex has residual effect and should be allowed to settle in the environment.  Pets and people may re-enter the area once the spray is dry.

                        **Mycodex is available at Suburban and is affective against a variety of insects.  There are a variety of flea sprays available in stores.  Use caution when selecting a spray.  When in doubt, check with your veterinarian first.


            4) Repeat above as needed.


For severe infestations, foggers (bombs) or a professional exterminator may be necessary.  Mycodex will still be needed in cases where bombs or foggers are used as foggers do not reach every corner or under furniture.  Be sure to read labels on all chemicals and follow directions carefully.  Pets should be removed from the area during treatment.


You may need to treat your lawn as well, especially if you have outdoor cats or dogs who spend a lot of time outside.  You can purchase a product from the pet store or lawn & garden center, or use a professional service.


Suburban Animal Clinic recommends the following Flea products:



Comfortis (pill-flea only)

Advantage Multi (topical-includes Heartworm & Parasite Prevention)

Revolution** (topical-includes Heartworm & Parasite Prevention)

Advantage** (topical-flea only)

Frontline Plus (topical-includes Tick Prevention)



Comfortis (pill-flea only)

Trifexis (pill-includes Heartworm & Parasite Prevention)

Advantix (topical-includes Tick Prevention)

Advantage Multi (topical-includes Heartworm & Parasite Prevention)

Revolution** (topical-includes Heartworm & Parasite Prevention)

Advantage (topical-flea only)


**These products not available in our clinic, but are available on our online store!


Suburban Animal Clinic currently has the following SPECIALS on our Flea Prevention:

Comfortis & Trifexis: Buy a 6 pk, receive a $10 REBATE; Buy a 12 pk receive a $25 REBATE

Advantage, Advantix, Advantage Multi: Buy a 6 pk, get 2 doses FREE


Stock up today to protect you and your furry friend!!

Suburban Animal Clinic is located in West Columbus off I-70 near I-270. Suburban Animal Clinic serves Galloway, Hilltop, West Side, Georgesville, West Jefferson, Grove CityGrandviewUpper Arlington (including OSU Campus area), Hilliard and Dublin.