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Flea Preventative Medications: Oral vs. Topical

Flea Prevention Medications for Cats and Dogs
Flea Prevention and Your Veterinarian

Make sure to ask your veterinarian’s advice on which flea treatment products he or she recommends, and in what quantities. The chance of an adverse reaction to a flea treatment may depend in part on the pet’s size and weight. Veterinary research has noted that toy breeds tend to have more reported cases than larger animals. Additionally, find out whether your veterinary practitioner offers pet grooming and bathing with medicated shampoos. Periodic grooming and bathing can not only keep flea problems at bay but also give the practitioner an opportunity to check for allergic reactions to topical flea treatments.

Fleas are not only a source of irritation and frustration, but they also pose a serious health threat to animals. These tiny external parasites can carry a variety of diseases, including bubonic plague, and severe infestations may cause deadly levels of blood loss in very small or young pets, according to national animal welfare organizations. Owners must therefore employ every preventative measure to keep these creatures off of their beloved pets, including the use of topical or oral medications.

The first line of defense is prevention. Prevention can be as simple as removing fleas and their eggs from your household by cleaning, vacuuming, and applying pet-safe pesticides to the yard. Keeping your grass mowed and removing excess sources of shade can rob fleas of their preferred environmental conditions, discouraging them from breeding in the yard. But no matter how scrupulously you keep your indoor and outdoor environments under control, at some point your pet is likely to need some form of flea treatment. These treatments may take topical ("spot-on") or oral forms.

Topical Medications

Topical or "spot-on" flea treatments are readily accessible to pet owners. These products can be highly effective at eliminating flea infestations or preventing new ones from occurring. Veterinary organizations point out, however, that while approved flea preventatives are generally considered safe, owners must follow the instructions on the label with great care to prevent a possible toxic or otherwise adverse reaction to the chemicals in the product. Animal welfare organizations also warn owners never to give cat flea treatments to their dogs or vice versa, because the results could prove fatal.

Oral Medications

Oral flea medications also have their pros and cons. In addition to topical treatments widely available, veterinary clinics also prescribe oral products such as Comfortis. Typically, regular monthly doses of such drugs aim to kill fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs, stopping infestations before they start. You may find that the oral delivery method creates less of a mess than the topical route, while also eliminating concerns over skin reactions to the active ingredients. But oral medications may also cost more than topical treatments, and prescriptions will need to be refilled regularly to maintain constant protection.

Sources:

AVMA, “Flea and Tick Treatments: EPA’s Investigation of Spot-On.”

Comfortis, “Controlling Fleas in Your Home.”

Cruz, Bernadine, DVM; Mesenhowski, Shannon, DVM, “Save Use of Flea and Tick Preventative Products.” AVMA, Dec 2012.

Testimonials

Mesa Veterinary Clinic

5355 N. Mesa El Paso, TX 79912

Day Open Close
Monday 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am 2:00 pm
Sunday Closed Closed

Paws N' Hooves Mobile Veterinary Services

Day Open Close
Tuesday 8am- 4pm Pets Barn 9807 Dyer
Wednesday 8am- 4pm Pets Barn 9807 Dyer
Thursday 9am- 4pm 5500 N Desert Blvd
Friday 8am- 4pm Pets Barn 11100 Sean Haggerty
Saturday 9:30am- 4pm Pets Barn 1790 Zaragoza
Sunday Closed Closed

Mesa Veterinary Clinic

5355 N Mesa El Paso TX, 79912

Day Open Close
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8:00 am 8:00 am 8:00 am 8:00 am 8:00 am 10:00 am Closed
6:00 pm 6:00 pm 6:00 pm 6:00 pm 6:00 pm 2:00 pm Closed

Paws N' Hooves Mobile Veterinary Services

Day Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Hours 8am- 4pm 8am- 4pm 9am- 4pm 8am- 4pm 9:30am- 4pm
Location

Pets Barn

9807 Dyer

Pets Barn

9807 Dyer

Pets Barn

5500 N Desert Blvd.

Pets Barn

11100 Sean Haggerty

Pets Barn 

1790 Zaragoza

***Last sign-in for the mobile clinic will be taken at 2:30 pm everyday***