If there is one thing we really dont enjoy talking about, it's ticks and fleas on our pets. Having to research this subject and just looking at these critters is enough to make anyone queasy, including our beloved animals that have to live with this almost all their lives.
The good news is there is a solution to keep your cat free from ticks and fleas!
What exactly are fleas?
A flea is a small wingless insect that is known for its exceptional jumping ability; it can jump up to 1,000 times its own height. The "cat" flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common flea species on both cats and dogs in most areas of the world. Adult fleas live permanently on the skin and feed on the blood of dogs and cats.
Can fleas make life miserable for my kitten or cat?
Absolutely. Heavy infestations can cause severe anaemia in young kittens. Fleas bite an average of 10 times per day and can suck up to 15 times their own body weight in blood. Fleabites also cause skin irritation followed by excessive grooming by your pet that may result in skin damage and dermatitis.
Can my cat develop allergies from fleabites?
Yes, some cats become allergic to components of flea saliva and develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). This may cause marked hair loss on the abdomen, back of the thighs, flanks and tail due to excessive grooming and licking.
"Miliary dermatitis" is another possible condition - it's also very itchy and presents with a rash that often affects the trunk. Many small crusts, which can be felt more easily than seen, cover the base of the tail. In severe cases the cat may damage the skin with teeth or claws.
What other complications result from flea infestations?
Fleas are responsible for the transmission of tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) and the bacterium causing "cat-scratch disease" (Bartonella henselae).
Is the flea life cycle really that important to control? Isn't it simply good enough to take care of adult fleas?
Yes! Fleas have a very high reproductive potential: females may lay up to 50 eggs per day for more than 100 days. Flea eggs drop off the pets' coat and then hatch releasing larvae which crawl into carpets, under furniture and even into cracks between floorboards. They feed on flea faeces, seen as black 'dirts' on your pets coat. The larvae then form pupae inside which they transform into young adult fleas. Well sheltered, they can survive here for many months.
What causes the adult fleas to emerge from the pupa?
Flea Vacuuming could do the trick. Vibrations and a warm temperature stimulate this process. The average length of the cat flea life cycle is from 3 to 5 weeks under optimal conditions (warm and humid) but it may be much longer under cold, dry conditions. Young fleas protected in pupae may survive for 6 months or more.
Merial SA have developed an easy to apply product that eliminates fleas and ticks from the animals lives, which can be used either monthly or as and when you need it.
What should I treat my cats and kittens with?
FRONTLINE® Plus is a flea treatment containing the active ingredients fipronil and (S)-methoprene. Fipronil provides long acting control of the adult fleas on your pet. (S)-methoprene is an insect growth regulator (IGR) that kills all fleas stages in the pets surroundings with regular use, leaving your pets flea free, tick free and carefree!
FRONTLINE® Plus works like no other flea treatment. It moves quickly through the oils on your pet's skin and collects naturally in the hair follicles and oil-producing glands. From this reservoir, it is constantly reapplied to the hair and skin, resulting in long-term flea control. FRONTLINE® Plus is also gentle enough to use on kittens from 8 weeks of age and for breeding, pregnant and nursing cats.
Ticks are disease carriers of note, which is why it's important to protect your cats against them.
Tick infestation in cats is less commonly reported than in dogs and they may be more often infested by immature stages (larvae and nymphs) than adult ticks. At each stage of its life the tick has one blood meal lasting from 5 to 10 days on a mammal. Ticks preferentially attach to certain areas of the body such as the neck, face and ears. Cats may develop ulcers or inflammatory granulomas (nodules) at the tick attachment site particularly when ticks have been incorrectly removed.
It is important to note that not all products that are effective against fleas are effective against ticks. The FRONTLINE® range, however, kills over 90% of ticks within 48 hours of application. Attached ticks should fall off once dead, or can be easily removed.
When should I start treating my pets with FRONTLINE®?
Immediately: regular treatment with FRONTLINE® Plus (monthly) or FRONTLINE® Spray (monthly) is all that is needed for on-going flea control. Begin treatment well before the flea season and continue right through the year to prevent fleas becoming a problem on your pet. Puppies and kittens can be treated with FRONTLINE® Spray from their day of birth, or from 8 weeks of age with FRONTLINE® Plus.
How long does FRONTLINE® take to work?
FRONTLINE® kills fleas within 24 hours and ticks within 48 hours. FRONTLINE® must first spread in the oils of the skin, over the pet's body. This process, called translocation, occurs in about 24 hours, (translocation can be delayed in pets with very dry skin or limited mobility, such as caged animals). Once fleas and ticks come in contact with FRONTLINE® they are killed within 24 to 48 hours.
Should I re-apply FRONTLINE® if I see more fleas on my pet soon after application?
No. FRONTLINE® only needs to be applied monthly. If you see fleas or ticks on your treated pet, these have most likely come from your pet's environment and will soon be killed by FRONTLINE®.
Since FRONTLINE® is so effective against fleas and ticks, is it gentle enough for my pet?
FRONTLINE® products have been extensively tested and shown to be well tolerated by dogs and cats even at five times the recommended maximum rate on the label. FRONTLINE® is used with confidence on millions of cats, dogs, puppies and kittens worldwide.
My pet likes to go swimming. Will FRONTLINE® still be effective?
Many dogs love to go swimming given the opportunity. As FRONTLINE® is stored in the oil glands of the skin, regular swimming will not reduce the performance of FRONTLINE® against fleas or ticks, provided the animal is not exposed to bathing or shampooing 3 days before or after the application (this allows the process of translocation to be completed). So your pet can enjoy the great outdoors just as much as you do!
Why should I buy FRONTLINE® Plus instead of other tick and flea control products?
- Is effective against ticks (adult and immature)
- Is effective against fleas (adult and immature)
- Aids in the control of sarcoptic mange
- Is approved for use on dogs and cats of all ages (from 8 weeks of age and upwards... for dogs a day old up to that point, use Frontline Spray®)
- Is gentle enough to be used on breeding, pregnant and lactating cats and dogs
- Is waterfast (don't bath within 3 days of application)
- For all these reasons, there's only one name you need to remember when treating all your beloved cats and dogs: FRONTLINE® Plus!
Should I keep up regular treatment with FRONTLINE® Plus?
Yes. FRONTLINE® Plus contains two active ingredients: Fipronil works by interfering with the nerve cells of adult fleas, resulting in the fleas becoming disorientated and hyperactive before they die. (S)-methoprene, on the other hand, interferes with egg production and hatching of fleas, as well as inhibiting larval development. It's what we call an Insect Growth Regulator. Consequently, no more pupae are produced. Simply put, regular use of FRONTLINE® Plus effectively breaks the flea life cycle, and keeps it broken. Our reasoning behind saying treatment should be monthly is this: a single breeding pair of fleas may produce... wait for it... 20 000 (twenty thousand) fleas over a three month period! Flea eggs hatch after 2 to 12 days into larvae, which in turn moult twice within a period of 2 to 200 days. The older larvae spin a cocoon in which they remain for anything from one week to ONE YEAR! Monthly treatment is therefore recommended in order to deal with continually hatching fleas over the extended window period.
Another aspect that pet lovers seem to forget about, is the fact that some environments are particularly challenging when it comes to pest control. Here were referring to having several pets in the same household, the introduction of other people's pets into your pet's environment, flea eggs in your lovely plush carpet, and so on.
What are the secondary problems controlled through successful tick and flea control?
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)
- Tapeworm (a zoonosis, meaning this parasite is transferable to people)
- Other zoonoses, including - Haemobartonellosis, Tick-borne viral encephalitis (overseas), Cat Scratch Disease (this disease is carried by the cat flea - the common flea species afflicting our dogs and cats), Hepatozoonosis, Chlamydiosis and Roundworms.
Frontline Plus Promotion for Pet Health Care readers.
Online Competition - Open from 19-22 Aug 2016
Win a 3 month supply of #FrontlinePlus kitty hamper (worth R700). To enter tell us who is your favourite animal rescue organisation.
Prizes : 1 winner will win 1 Hamper for them and their kitty and 1 Hamper for their favourite kitty rescue
3-month supply of FRONTLINE® Plus for Cats
500ml FRONTLINE® Spray
Total value: R700
To enter : Tell which Kitty Rescue is your favourite on our Facebook page - and stand a chance to be in the lucky draw. Remember to LIKE & SHARE the competition post on Facebook. Remember no SHARE no Entry.
Competition Entry Rules:
- Winner/s will be chosen from the comments in the Facebook post relating to this competition.
- Competition Starts on Friday 19 Aug 2016 and ends at midnight this coming Monday. (You have 4 days to enter)
- Late entries will not be accepted.
- One entry per household is allowed.
- Only people residing within the borders of South Africa are allowed to enter.
- People who reside outside the borders of South African may offer to donate their prize to a South African Animal Rescue or Shelter listed here.
- Winners will be announced on this page, as well as on the PetHealthcare Facebook page the following week.
- Winners have *1 week from date of announcement to claim their prize. After this, should they not come forward to claim their prize/s, it will be awarded to the next person/s.
- Winner/s give PetHealthCare permission to post a photo of them or their pet/s enjoying their prize, on our Facebook page and in the monthly Newsletter.
- Allow 6 – 8 weeks for delivery of your prize.
- PetHealthCare and the Sponsor/s reserve the right to choose the winner/s, and no correspondence will be entered into.
Congratulations to the 2 Lucky Frontline Plus Hamper Winners:
Caroline Soar and Pietermaritzburg Kitten Rescue
Well done and thank you for entering the Give Away.