‘Tis the season, and ‘tis the reason for my annual April constitutional. Bugs, bugs and more bugs. They’re everywhere! If you thought that this exceptionally frigid winter would have put a dent into the healthy and prolific numbers of fleas and ticks, like me, you were sorely mistaken. An “expert” in the field told me a couple of years ago that it would have to be negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 days before tick larvae would die. I now know that is pretty close to the truth. All of my field and wood-walking friends have already begun the tick-picking season. Since we can’t (and maybe we don’t want to change our winter weather to that degree), we must armor up to do serious battle with these external parasites that can do so much harm with very little effort. Monthly treatment protocols must be vigilantly adhered to. Consult with your veterinary practice on products of choice for superior efficacy.
- Monthly application of K-9 Advantix II (every 21 days if needed).
- Weekly application of Adam’s Water-based Flea and Tick Repellent, especially on legs, underbelly, croups, tails and neck.
- Daily spray of Cutter’s or Off “Smooth & Dry” spray bug repellent on ears, toplines and tails.
- Some of my clients swear by Activyl topical, Vectra and the Scalibor collar. There is no doubt that the Scalibor has consistently outperformed other flea and tick collars. Unfortunately, my old standby Frontline Plus seems to have sufficient breakthroughs to investigate another topical. For those whose feline residents have access to the dogs in the house, your product decisions may not be as flexible as those homes who are feline-free.
- Heartworm prevention must still take center stage in our area. The Heartgard product remains one of the most popular, although I prefer Trifexis because of its superior performance with intestinal parasites. Caution needs to be given when administering Trifexis. It must be given with a meal, and some dogs can tolerate it only if famotidine (Pepcid) is given before.
- Last but not least, I am in love with Capstar. Right before I leave for home from a dog show, I pop a Capstar down Cartier and Alize’s throats. It starts killing fleas in 30 minutes, and attains full strength in six hours. I never leave home without it. Its efficacy is only for 24 hours, but it prevents me from coming home with “someone” I didn’t invite!
- Your indoor/outdoor cats are best treated with Advantage Plus for cats, and they can sport an appropriate flea and tick collar for extra protection. My heart goes out to the feral cats, whether they are in a supported colony or not, for the horrific battle they must wage with these voracious and relentless external parasites. Even the biting flies give no reprieve to these ferals, or to our untreated pet dogs. Many a tip of an ear has been lost to these tiny predators.
- Your horses and other livestock need eyes wide open for preventative spraying and treatment. A little effort and expense can go a long way in helping our pets to enjoy the long, hot summer!