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Flea Treatment For Your Cat

Flea Prevention – Why is it important?

Cat ScratchingFleas are parasites that live in the coat of cats. They bite and suck your cat's blood. The flea bites cause skin irritations and cats scratch (not always!). Over a period of time the flea bites can lead to flea allergies, making the skin problem worse. "Miliary eczema" is a common skin disease caused by flea allergies.

Fleas can bite us humans too. There is no such thing as cat or dog fleas. All flea species are happy which ever mammal they live on.

Fleas can become established in our homes and environment, and if not dealt with effectively, their numbers increase. Once established in the home they harder to eradicate.

FleasAs fleas suck blood, in bad infestations they can cause anaemia particularly in puppies, kittens and older cats. They take much more blood than they need and pass large amounts in their droppings (flea dirt) which can be seen in the cat's coat (you can see this as black specks). If you collect these black specks and put them on damp white tissue paper they will stain the tissue paper red or brown.

The flea dirt drops off the animal onto the floor, together with flea eggs. The flea dirt feeds the tiny larvae that hatch out in your carpets. These larvae eventually develop into more fleas, which then jump on the next available animal to live and feed.

Fleas can transmit parasites and other germs. Some tapeworms are transmitted by fleas.

In summary, a female flea can lay 40-60 eggs per day. These are laid on their host (your pet). These eggs fall off into the environment where they will develop into new fleas. They multiply rapidly. Fleas are more likely to be caught from the environment than from other animals. If your cat goes out, it will come into contact with fleas at some point, especially when the weather is warmer.

How To Prevent And Treat Fleas

Vets are not allowed to mention any product names by law. Below are different ways of treating fleas, all cats and households are different it is better if we decide what is best for your situation. All our flea products are prescription only medicines, this means they have to pass rigorous tests to prove that they work, unlike most pet shop and supermarket treatment.  If you need flea treatment simply ring us (01254 53622) and we will decide what is the best flea treatment for your pet. We have all the following treatments in stock.

  1. We have an injection that can be given by our vets and nurses, which lasts 6 months. This injection keeps your home clear of fleas. It works by preventing fleas from reproducing. This injectable flea treatment is a good choice as you don't have to remember each month to apply a spot-on - and most cats hate spot-on treatments because of the smell - which they take as an insult! Contact us for more information and advice on 01254 53622
  2. Or by a "Spot On". We have 3 different ones. These are vials of flea treatment which you can administer yourself. They are often needed to be applied monthly. The monthly spot on treatment we have dosn't just kill fleas it also kills mites, some lice and roundworms. Avoid cheap pet shop and supermarket "Spot Ons" as they do not work effectively. There is some evidence in Blackburn that there is now resistance to Frontline (in particular the active ingredient Fipronil. See the reviews on the Pets at Home Website) so it would be wise to avoid fipronil containing compounds which may not work in all circumstances. Contact us for more information and advice on 01254 53622
  3. We have a new "spot on" treatment (we think it is one of the best flea products available for cats at the moment) that lasts 3 months click this link for more details.
  4. Or by tablet. Be a little carefull here. Most tablet flea killers have no residual action. They just kill any fleas on your cat at the time of administration. They offer no long term prevention, but they can help. We recommend a prescription flea tablet which lasts for 1 month which you can administer yourself. Some people may find it easier to administer a tablet than a spot on. Contact us for more information and advice on 01254 53622.
  5. Flea collar. Again avoid cheap supermarket and pet shop flea collars. They often don't work effectively and some can be harmful. There is a prescription collar that works well in cats. Contact us for more information and advice on 01254 53622.
  6. And treat your home. One or two fleas are not a problem. The problem starts when they multiply. They do this in the environment. Your home! Treat you house with a house spray regularly to prevent flea multiplication. Indorex spray is very good. We have them in out waiting room. A spray such as Indorex will control fleas in the home for upto 12 months.

The best thing to do is to telephone us at the surgery (01254 53622) for professional advice about the best possible flea prevention for your cat. We have lots of very effective flea products in stock at the surgery.

How to treat fleas on your cat. What do I do if I find fleas on my cat?

  1. Spray Indorex (or any good environmental flea product) all around your home to kill the flea eggs and larvae in your house.Vaccuum thoroughly over the next 4 weeks.
  2. Use a good quality flea product to kill the fleas (see above) on all your cats and dogs.
  3. Worm your pets to prevent tapeworms.

Telephone the surgery for advice (01254 53622)

We can recomend the best flea treatment for your particular problem.

Scratching Itchy Cats Don't Always Have Fleas.

Not all animals that scratch have fleas. If your cat is scratching and chewing itself, loosing fur or has spots it may not necessarily be due to fleas. There are lots of other causes of skin disease in pets. If you are in any doubt, the best thing to do is to telephone the surgery and make an appointment to see one of our vets who will examine your cat and determine what the cause of the skin problem is.

Flea prevention - what NOT to use - products that fail!

Cheap imitation spot-ons that just don't work.

Flea Powders, Flea Shampoos and most Flea Collars.

Herbal Flea Treatments.

Many Flea sprays on general sale are inefficient.

Flea Combs don't help at all! But they are great for diagnosing a flea problem.

How to identify fleas on your cat.

  1. Look for fleas. Fleas are small about the size of half a grain of rice. They move quickly through your cat's coat. They are reddy brown sometimes black. Best found on your cat's back or tummy.
  2. Look for flea dirt. This is easier. Flea dirt looks like black pepper grains or just black dirt. Small black specks in your cats coat are likely to be flea droppings. If you find anything suspicious small and black put it on damp white tissue paper or toilet paper, it will dissolve and go red as flea dirt is dried black blood! If this happens your cat has fleas.

David30 years ago..... (David Higginson MRCVS remembers)

Fleas were very common (and still are!)

Treatments were fairly ineffective. Actually we didn't understand the fleas' life cycle properly until it was thoroughly researched in the early 90's. We used all the preparations listed above in the DON'T USE section. We had nothing else. Then in the mid 70's Nuvan Top, an organophosphorus spray, was produced and worked quite well, but it was poisonous, smelt awful and drove pets, especially cats, to distraction when it was applied (weekly)! We knew nothing of flea allergies and thought that scabby cats and dogs had vitamin deficiency. We didn't realise until a decade later just how severe a flea allergy reaction can be; just one flea can cause a severe dermatitis if the pet is allergic to flea saliva.

Page updated 3rd Mar 2017, 18:11
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