Treating pets properly for fleas and ticks

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) –   Flea season is every season in Louisiana, however it's when the temperature rises and the humidity climbs that it really starts to heat up.

"One flea will produce 1,000 eggs in one month," said Dr. Robert Lofton of University Animal Clinic.

Lofton says the key to controlling a flea outbreak is not about reacting to it.

"We'd be a whole lot better if we could start our prevention before the fleas become a problem," says Lofton.

Which medication should you choose to protect your pet?

Lofton stated, "If you use a very good topical medication you can control those fleas nicely and do it without adding toxicity to the patient."

The products a pet owner uses should come from a veterinarian. Not all flea, as well as tick treatments are safe, like some over the counter medications.

"Treatments being sold across the counter, particularly "spot on," are insecticides, it's actually absorb into that pet," said Lofton.

According to MSNBC.com pet owners have increasingly complained about "spot on" products and their side effects, ranging from skin irritations to seizures or even worse.

"I've actually seen a couple of cats die from those products," Lofton said.

Death and side effects can be triggered by an owner treating a cat or small dog already weakened from fleas.

Lofton says the biggest mistake he has seen owners make is when they apply medication intended for dogs on cats.

"You definitely want to follow the instructions, if it says to be used on a cat, use it on a cat," said Lofton. "If it says to be used a dog, use it on a dog. Use it specifically according to the instructions."

Owners should also not assume a product is not working on their pet if they see more fleas a few days after application, as it can take several weeks to reduce a flea population.

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