Control of fleas and ticks takes considerable effort from both the pet owner and the veterinarian. Understanding the life cycle of the flea is important in the effective control of these parasites.
Female fleas begin egg production within 24 to 36 hours of their first blood meal. Females reach peak egg production at 40 to 50 eggs per day which is about 1,300 eggs during their first 50 days on a host. They continue to produce eggs at a gradually declining rate for more than 100 days. The entire life cycle can be completed in as little as 12 to 14 days, or it can continue up to 174 days, depending upon conditions. If fleas are left uncontrolled for even a brief period, the flea population on our pets will increase at rapid rates. Flea development will generally slow down during cooler months but has been shown not to cease completely.
So, should you continue to use flea prevention products during the winter months? In this climate, absolutely! Fleas will continue to develop even during the winter months. They will lie in wait in their environment (our houses unfortunately for example) until conditions improve. The fact that you don't notice any fleas on your pet does not necessarily mean there are no fleas in your environment. Those you do see only represent a small percentage that are actually in your area. Remember that it is much easier to prevent flea infestation than to have to work to eliminate them from your pet and your home.
Fleas and ticks can also make your pets sick. When fleas feed, they inject saliva into the skin of our pets which can cause an allergy. Our pets will bite and scratch often with resultant hair loss or sores on skin. Even worse is the fleas when infestation is severe can cause anemia and subsequent death due to loss of blood in the pet. Ticks can also cause diseases in your pet. Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis are all examples of tick borne diseases.
The best way to manage fleas and ticks is to talk with your veterinarian and see what diseases are common in our area so that you are using the appropriate flea and tick control products. The issue with over the counter products is that many are what we call pyethroids or synthetic pyrethrins. With this class of insecticides we see that fleas are commonly resistant to these products and therefore the OTC products do not work very well. People tend to over apply and this can lead to medical issues including death of your pet. Veterinarians can give you information on both the safety and efficacy of flea and tick products
We have many options to choose from when it comes to flea and tick control for your pet. The newest products are always released through the veterinarian so you can be assured that you are getting the newest products on the market. Please contact your veterinarian and ask about what is best for you and your pet. We also have many specials and rebates that are not available when products are bought over-the-counter (from the pet store or online) to help make it more affordable for you. We will stand behind the products so if you do have issues with any of the products we will work with you to find the best fit for your pet.