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Know Your Flea Facts

Know Your Flea Facts

Florida’s warm, humid environment makes it the perfect breeding ground for fleas. An understanding of the flea life cycle and choosing the best flea prevention will help keep your pet itch free.

Here are some important facts about fleas and their life cycle:

Choosing a good flea control product is key in keeping your environment flea free. There are many different flea products out there but the best medicine for your pet would be to use a monthly flavored tablet called Sentinel for dogs. For cats we recommend a monthly topical called Revolution or a Program injection that lasts 6 months. Another pill called Capstar can be used as needed for both cats and dogs. Here is what you need to know about these products:

Sentinel

Sentinel is a monthly parasite prevention that not only protects against fleas, but prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Lufenuron is the product in Sentinel that breaks the life cycle of fleas. It inhibits the synthesis of chitin which is a protein in insects that makes up their exoskeleton. For a flea to hatch from it’s egg it must develop an egg tooth in order to crack open the egg. The egg tooth is made of chitin, which Sentinel prevents from forming. If the flea cannot develop an egg tooth, that flea egg will never hatch. Because chitin does not exist in mammals, it doesn’t affect them at all, making Sentinel completely safe for your pet. Sentinel is to be given once a month with a full meal. The Lufenuron needs fat in the stomach in order to absorb properly and be completely effective. Giving Sentinel with just a treat is not enough.

Program Injection

For cats, Lufenuron, the same drug that is in Sentinel for dogs, comes in an injectible form called Program. It works the exactly the same way in cats, the only difference being in the way it is given. One Program injection lasts for 6 months and then needs to be re-administered.

Revolution

Revolution is a topical form of flea control for cats that also protects against intestinal parasites, heartworms, and ear mites. It kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching in your environment as well. Revolution is given monthly and applied just like any other topical onto the skin at the back of your cat’s neck. Revolution is especially recommended for outdoor cats.

Capstar

Capstar is an oral tablet that will kill any fleas on your pet for 24 hours. It can be used for both dogs and cats and starts killing fleas within 30 minutes. Capstar is an insect neurotoxin that paralyzes the mouth of the flea, leaving them unable to bite and eventually killing them. When a pet is allergic to fleas, it is the saliva of the flea that they react to. The Capstar paralyzes the flea before it can inject its saliva and make your pet itch. While Capstar is a neurotoxin to insects it is completely safe for your pet. The same molecule that enters their system is excreted unchanged in the urine 24 hours later, not affecting any internal organs at all. Capstar can be given up to once a day safely, but usually twice a week for 3 weeks is sufficient if you are seeing adult fleas.

In order to keep your household flea free, every pet in the house must be treated. If Sentinel is only given to a dog and a cat in the same house remains untreated by Program or Revolution, there is a break in your flea prevention and fleas will still be able to reproduce in your environment. A flea infestation is not something that will go away overnight. It can take up to 3-6 months to completely clear an infestation. Putting your pet on the best flea prevention is the first step in the right direction! We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

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