A transcript of the video is provided below:
Fleas are the bane of everyone’s existence. Nobody likes them. They cause your dog and cat to be really itchy and miserable, they give them skin infections, tapeworms, and all sorts of other diseases. Plus, they’re just disgusting and annoying.
The problem with San Diego is that we have fleas year-round because it never gets cold enough for the fleas to die off. It’s temperate year-round and these fleas are taking advantage of that by breeding year-round. Because of that we have to give our pets flea medications every month of the year if your pet goes outside. Even if your pets don’t go outside – I’ve had indoor-only cats get covered in fleas because the fleas come in on us, they jump on your cat, and they’re infested.
There used to be some really great products out there, and over time those have changed. The first generation of flea meds were the pyrethrin-based flea meds. They worked great for awhile, but over time the fleas became immune to the meds and stopped working. The last generation of flea medications were Frontline and Advantage. They also used to be great, but they came to the market in the year 2000 and they’re really not working like they used to. So, we don’t recommend those at all anymore. We’ll see dogs that have been on it, and they’re still covered in fleas and they’re just going crazy.
Now there’s a whole next-generation of flea medications that are out there. This is going to continue to change, too, because some are going to continue to work and then others will not work. We will keep you posted on the latest on this battle, so check back to see the most up to date recommendation. If you like the topical flea medications, similar to Frontline and Advantage, there is one called Activyl. This style of flea medication is nice because it doesn’t get systemically absorbed. If your pet has a history of seizures, this may be the safest product for them. The downside, just like Frontline and Advantage, is that it’s topical. With topical medications, you have to worry about yourself, your children, or other animals potentially touching it and getting it on themselves. It also leaves a little grease mark on their back and, in spite of the manufacturer’s claims, you can potentially wash these off which can decrease the effectiveness of the medication. For cats, this is my number one, go-to treatment for fleas. Topicals are much easier to administer to cats than oral medications. However, for dogs, I really don’t prescribe a lot of it anymore, and really recommend the oral flea medications. The oral flea medications are really safe and they’re super effective. You don’t have to worry about washing it off. You don’t have to worry about touching it. And there are some newer ones out there with incredible safety profiles. We used to recommend Comfortis and Trifexis, and I still do recommend Trifexis. The problem with it is that 10% of dogs will vomit when they get it and they hate the flavor of it so you have to shove it down their throat. However, if your dog likes it and takes it, great. Trifexis is a really easy solution because it’s flea and heartworm in one. So, I still prescribe a lot of it because it is really effective. However, if your dog does get an upset stomach on Trifexis, just doesn’t seem right, or doesn’t easily to take the pill, there are two new oral flea medications that are out there which are working really well. One is called NexGard. NexGard is nice because it’s an oral flea pill, but it’s better than Comfortis in that it doesn’t cause the vomiting. Also, most dogs really love the flavor of this one, so it’s really easy to give it to them. Plus, it also does ticks, so it’s adding some protection that Comfortis doesn’t have. Ticks aren’t a huge problem in San Diego but I do have some dogs that seem to find these tick nests and come in covered with them. Also, the safety of NexGard is really, really high. NexGard is a compound that was actually derived from a naturally occurring sea sponge toxin. With every new drug that comes out, the companies need to perform something called a LD50, basically trying to find the lethal dose of the new drug. When they tried to do their lethal dose study, they couldn’t actually kill anything with it. They gave 6500x the recommended dose and these mice were still just plugging along like nothing happened. So it’s a really safe drug and because of that, I’ve been prescribing a lot of the NexGard.
There’s also a brand new drug that just came out called Bravecto. This is completely new compared to everything else that’s out there. All of the other flea meds, topical or oral, last one month. Bravecto is an oral flea med that actually lasts for three months. We love this because if you look at the life cycle of a flea it takes 3 months minimum to rid your house of a flea infestation. If you give one dose of a monthly flea medication, it will kill those adult fleas that are currently on your pet, but there’s a whole army of eggs and larvae that are about to hatch out and then re-infest your dog or cat. So if you just give one dose of a monthly flea med once, you’re not going to do anything. You have to give a minimum of three months in a row to break that life cycle. So Bravecto is great because it continues to treat for three months. Also, the safety is really high and the side effects are really minimal. The hardest part about Bravecto is remembering three months from now that they’re due for their next dose. It has to be put on your calendar three months from now to give the next dose of the Bravecto.
So those are our latest recommendations on flea medications. If you have any questions at all, give us a call 760-633-2254.