Salted with Sharks

What’s Going Around: Fleas

In Community Alert, Elberta Pets and Their Humans, Health on September 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

We thought we’d try something new and add some health coverage to the Elberta Alert, starting with semi-regular columns on your and your pet’s health. Have a tip on what might be going around in the human or pet community, or an idea for a health story? Send an e-mail to Kimm X Jayne at, subject line “What’s Going Around.”

Betsie Vet Fleas

Betsie River Veterinary’s marquee, September 30, 2013. Photo by Emily Votruba


What’s going around this week? Fleas! And they seem lousier than usual this year.

Dr. Susan Daly’s Betsie River Veterinary Clinic says we’re in the peak of flea season right now. They’re seeing a lot of cats and dogs with raw spots and missing hair due to excessive scratching from fleabites. Some of these raw spots have turned into secondary infections, necessitating antibiotics.

Though a frost may kill fleas outside, eggs will survive in your home or anywhere warm, such as a heated garage or barn. It’s pretty easy to prevent a flea infestation by putting your cat or dog on a preventative topical treatment, like Frontline Plus or a similar generic. Many of these spot-on type treatments prevent ticks and lice on your pet as well (thereby preventing it in your home too!). Be sure to read the label, because some spot treatments only prevent fleas, not ticks or other creepies.

I contacted the four closest vet clinics, a vet friend of mine, and searched a vet blog, and they all said Frontline Plus is what they recommend, that it works great, and the only caveat is that you shouldn’t apply it after a bath, because it needs the pet’s natural skin oils to help it absorb.

Platte Lake Veterinary Clinic: “We recommend Frontline Plus. It’s the most effective treatment out.” The associate said she hadn’t heard the rumor that Frontline doesn’t work, and said that if applied correctly, it works extremely well. She added, “If you apply it after a bath it won’t absorb properly.”

All Animal Veterinary Clinic also recommends Frontline Plus. “We’ve never had any problems with it and it prevents both fleas and ticks.”

According to the veterinary website I visited, the sebaceous oils in your pet’s hair and skin actually help the product work. The blog’s suggestion is to apply the product and then wait 2-3 days before bathing with any soap or shampoo containing surfactants.

Better a dirty dog than a fleabitten one! Ψ




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