Spring is just about upon us! Once the temps are consistently above 45-50F, the threat of fleas and ticks will soar. Ticks are generally seen sooner in the year then fleas, so you will want to get some type of preventative on (or in!) your dog in the next couple weeks.
There are a variety of flea and tick preventatives available. Frontline Plus is the “tried and true” topical product; generic Frontline (fipronil) can be found in many different places. Last fall we saw a fair number of dogs and cats using fipronil or Frontline that still had flea problems. If you buy 3 months of Frontline from your veterinarian for ALL of the pets in your household and are still having flea problems, they will send an exterminator to your house at no charge.
Vectra 3D is another popular topical preventative. Vectra is also a flea, tick, fly, and mosquito repellant. Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic stocks Vectra 3D for dogs as our topical preventative. It does seem to cause more itchiness when applied than we’ve seen for Frontline, but any topical product can cause a skin sensitivity.
There is a new ORAL product for dogs out this year, called Nexgard. Currently Nexgard is only FDA-approved for preventing one type of tick (the American dog tick), but Merial is working on getting approval for others. The American dog tick is more difficult to kill than the deer tick, so it seems likely that Nexgard is more effective than the current label claims. Because it is an oral product, the flea and/or tick does need to bite the dog before it dies. This would not be the best option for a dog with a flea allergy (as the allergy is to the flea’s saliva). But it is certainly a great option for dogs with a sensitivity to a topical product or for owners who don’t like applying a topical product to their pet. Nexgard is given once a month and can be given at the same time as Heartgard or other monthly heartworm preventatives.
There are other products available and the friendly staff at Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic would be happy to help you decide on the best product for your pet. Please give us a call at (608) 819-6750!