A common complaint this time of year is when clients call or come into the vet clinic complaining about persistence of fleas, despite their diligent use of the tried, tested and effective topical flea and tick medications such as Frontline Plus or Advantage II. Often this is the result of a failure of us as veterinarians in fully educating clients on a complete flea control program. Before all of the topical spot on flea products came out many years ago, it was taught to us in veterinary school to stress to clients to treat the home environment, given that almost 80% of the flea life cycle occurs in the environment.
While many of the topical flea products claim they are highly effective against flea eggs, many exterminators and parasitologists I have spoken with have told me that often flea eggs can be resistant to the insecticidal effects of some of these products. Most of the flea eggs that are laid on the animal do roll off onto the pet’s bedding, carpeting, or furniture in the home. It is therefore important for animal guardians not only to treat their pets topically with flea control medication, which indeed controls and kills flea adults and larvae on the pet, but also to treat the home as well with insect growth regulator compounds such as Virbac Knockout Fogger from 1800petmeds or other products like flea busters, or even employing an exterminator in heavy infestations to help kill flea eggs.
I also find it helpful to treat the yard as well with a yard and kennel flea spray. Many garden stores sell special type of worms called nematodes, which are often effective against fleas when applied in the garden or backyard. Unless a multi-pronged flea approach is taken, as well as careful attention to application of the topical flea products, according to manufacturer recommendations, clients may find that relying on the topical spot on products alone may fail in their attempts to control these pesky parasites.