Flea or Tick Control

Flea Control
Fleas are most often seen during the warmer months but as we live in the wet tropics, we see fleas all year round! Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. The fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it is important to not only treat your animal directly for fleas but also decontaminate the environment as well.  Wash your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/clean carpets. We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.


Fleas will tend to jump onto your pet only to feed and then jump off again. Dogs and cats can have a reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis or FAD. Treatment of FAD can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.

Some signs that your pet may have fleas include:

  • Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump  
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  • You may see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region)

                                               

  • It can be difficult to find the fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea dirt.  Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.

 

Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.

 

Flea Prevention

There are many different flea prevention products out there so it is important to consider your requirements carefully. Here are a few listed below:

  • Advantix (Imidacloprid + Permethrin): a monthly top-spot for dogs from 7 weeks of age (this product is toxic to cats; *paralysis ticks also if used fortnightly
  • Advantage (Imidacloprid): a monthly top-spot safe from 7 weeks in puppies and 8 weeks in kittens, fleas only
  • Comfortis (Spinosad): a once monthly flavoured tablet used from 14 weeks of age in dogs and cats, fleas only, excellent for FAD
  • Capstar (Nitenpyram): a one-off kill tablet safe from 4 weeks of age in dogs in cats (only lasts 24 hours)
  • Nexgard (Afoxolaner): a once monthly chew registered for both fleas and paralysis ticks (not for use in cats)
  • Bravecto: A 3 monthly flea and tick chew for dogs.
  • Seresto collar: flea and tick collar- changed every 8 months for cats and dogs. Only registered for dogs for paralysis tick prevention.


Please call us to discuss an appropriate flea control program for your pet.

 

Tick Control                 

   

 


The main tick of concern for pet owners is the Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) as it can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. Paralysis Ticks are extremely common in the Cairns region and while "tick season" is said to be between late June and late December, we do see cases all year round.

If you notice a tick on a pet that is not displaying signs of tick paralysis, remove the tick straight away.To do this, grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your pet’s skin and give a quick sideways pull. It is better not to try and kill the tick first as the dying tick may inject more of its potent toxin into your pet. If you are not confident removing the tick please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed.  Once the tick is removed your pet should be kept cool and quiet whilst being closely monitored for 24 hours. If your pet starts to display any signs of tick paralysis, such as vomiting, weakness, staggering, breathing difficulty, or altered bark/meow, seek immediate veterinary attention as this is a genuine veterinary emergency. If your pet is showing any of the above signs, do not offer food or water as these may be accidentally inhaled in tick-affected dogs.

Treatment of tick paralysis includes searching for and removing all ticks. This may include clipping the animal completely and/or the use of medication to kill remaining ticks. Tick antiserum is administered to counteract the toxin and supportive care is provided during recovery. This can be costly in comparison to what it would cost to use tick prevention initially. However, no tick prevention is 100% effective and should always be used in combination with daily searches of your pet. Searching your pet shouldn’t cease once you return from tick-affected regions but should continue for at least 7 days after returning home. Use your fingers to feel over the entire body, especially under the collar, on the face and around the front of your pet. Don’t forget to check carefully between the toes, under the lips and in the ears.

We are more than happy to show you how to do a thorough tick search, please call us to discuss.

 

Tick Prevention

Like flea prevention, there are many products available for tick prevention. As stated above, none are 100% effective. Here are a few listed below:

  • Frontline Spray (Fipronil): a topical spray misted every 3 weeks, this is the only registered paralysis tick product for cats
  • Advantix (Imidacloprid + Permethrin): a top-spot for dogs from 7 weeks of age, must be used fortnightly (this product is toxic to cats)
  • Seresto Tick Collar: must be changed every 4 months to remain effective for paralysis ticks
  • Permoxin: topical permethrin that must be used every 3 days as a rinse (toxic to cats)
  • Nexgard (Afoxolaner):  a once monthly chew registered for both fleas and paralysis ticks (not for use in cats)
  • Bravecto: 3 monthly chew registered for fleas, brown ticks, paralysis ticks and mites. (not for use in cats)

**Dectomax Injections (Doramectin): Based on reports from other veterinarians elsewhere in Australia and here in Cairns, we decided to trial this as a preventative measure for paralysis ticks over the past tick season. Overall, we have been unhappy with the results in dogs and are recommending other preventative options as a first choice. We do still think it may be a viable option in cats however (as there are such limited options for them) so please contact us today if you would like to know more about it.