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Treating Flea & Tick Infestations in Multipet Households

Parasitology

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Flea and tick infestations can be time-consuming and expensive to treat, especially in multipet households.1 Understanding flea and tick biology, as well as common challenges facing owners of multiple pets, may help clinicians formulate more effective treatment plans.1,2

Step 1: Treat Every Pet, No Exceptions

Controlling infestations in a timely and cost-effective manner is contingent on every pet in the household being treated simultaneously for the entire duration of the parasite life cycle.1-3 Owners with financial constraints may be tempted to pick and choose which pets to treat based on time spent outdoors or presence of clinical signs. However, this strategy will only lead to wasted time, money, and effort.1-3

Fleas can propagate on the untreated pet, contaminating the house and yard with eggs.2 A single female flea can lay ≤50 eggs per day.1,2 Thus, even pets with low flea burdens that may not show clinical signs will maintain the household infestation irrespective of any preventive applied to the pet showing clinical signs.2

Step 2: Consider Compliance

Lapses in compliance for even a single pet can trigger treatment setback, including reinfestation and infestation persistence.2 Because 95% of the flea biomass (ie, eggs, larvae, pupae) is found in the environment and fleas can take ≤6 months to complete their life cycle, any missed or late doses before the biomass is fully eliminated may allow for immature stages to reach adulthood, lay more eggs, and restart their life cycle.1,2

Avoiding lapses may be more of a struggle for owners of multiple pets. Keeping track of medication schedules, brands, and doses for each pet may lead to error and missed doses. This is especially true in households with both cats and dogs, where the need to separate animals for certain preventives may lead to accidental toxin exposure to cats.

Step 3: Find Solutions

Although many effective flea and tick products are currently available, ensuring owner compliance with these products remains difficult.3 Seresto® (imidacloprid/flumethrin) eliminates the guesswork of compliance by making treatment straightforward and affordable for owners.

The 8-month duration of Seresto® eliminates the need for repeated monthly doses that may be missed or forgotten.4,5 This long duration of action reduces monthly cost, making it less expensive than many monthly preventives. The collar is nongreasy, odorless, and approved for both cats and dogs, eliminating the need to separate animals after application.4,5 In addition, imidacloprid/flumethrin has a fast speed of kill, killing and repelling fleas within 24 hours of application, with new or reinfesting fleas being killed and repelled within 2 hours thereafter.4,6 This speed kills fleas before they can lay eggs, a critical component to eliminating flea infestations. Imidacloprid/flumethrin also kills and repels ticks within 48 hours of application, with new ticks being killed and repelled within 6 hours thereafter, killing ticks through contact often before they have a chance to bite.4,6

Step 4: Take a Whole-Home Approach

Although not curative without also addressing the pet, environmental control should be recommended to help decrease overall parasite burden.1,2 Owners can take steps to reduce flea biomass in the home (eg, vacuuming, washing bedding) and eliminate parasite habitats in the yard (eg, cutting lawn short, removing brush and debris).1,2,7

Conclusion

Persistent flea and tick infestations may cause significant owner frustration from continued pet discomfort, perceived treatment failure, and mounting expenses. By offering innovative solutions that address financial and compliance limitations, veterinarians can help owners of multiple pets resolve established infestations in a timely and cost-effective manner.

©2020 Bayer, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66201. Seresto and Bayer are registered trademarks of Bayer. S20702

References

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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