The Vampires are Coming – So let’s Talk Flea Products

Nothing sends people off to the Vet – or Pet store faster than finding one of these blood sucking, jumping parasites on their pet.

But to get rid of these nasty invaders – you’ll need a product – and a plan that works.

The Aim of the Game – Attack young and old.

With Spring finally here – there’s a very real possibility your home and yard will soon be invaded by these unwanted pesky parasites. And if you haven’t already started a flea crackdown program, chances are you soon will. That’s because the millions of flea eggs lying around your yard and yes – probably in your home will soon hatch, grow up and start biting.

So what product is best?

The answer to that is – it depends.

  • Whether you’re already using a monthly combination product that contains a Flea control ingredient – one that kills the adult fleas as well as attacks the emerging babes
  • Your pets’ environment and lifestyle – indoors / outdoors or both
  • The quality of the product

Good News

If you’re already applying any of these products to your pet’s skin on a monthly basis, then your pet is protected from Fleas for a full month after application.

Product Adult Fleas Flea Larvae Ticks Heartworm Intestinal Worms Notes
Advantage Yes Yes No No No Available in 4 and 6 Month packs. Dog and Cat Formulas..
Frontline Yes Yes Yes* No No For Paralysis Ticks Needs fortnightly application. 3 Month pack. Dog and Cat Formulas
Advocate Yes Yes No Yes Partly (All except for Tapeworm) Available in 3 and 6 Month Packs. Dog only
Revolution Yes Yes No Yes Dogs – No  Cats Yes Available in 3 and 6 Month Packs. Dog and Cat Formulas.
Advantix Yes Yes Yes No No Warning: Dogs only.Never use on Cats. For Paralysis Ticks apply Fortnightly

These products also work on the flea larvae (the little wrigglers that turn into adult fleas). They die after feeding off your pet’s skin cells which are continually shedded around the home and yard. This is what’s often referred to as “breaking the flea life cycle” – prevent the juveniles from turning into adults.

Tablets and Chews

Some people have an aversion to spotton products because they’re still mystified as to how they actually work. Truth is though – spotton products work extremely well. The solution is absorbed into, then distributed throughout the outer layers of skin all over the body within 24 hours. Bingo! A protective coat of armour against invaders that also kills on contact.

For those non believers in spotton products – there’s the edible variety. However not all popular chews and tablets will kill Adult Fleas. Here’s a list of some popular antiparasitics and what they do.

Product Adult Fleas Notes Pack Size
Interceptor Spectrum No Given Monthly. No Flea control component.Dog only. Heartworm Yes. Intestinal worms. Yes 3 and 6 Month Packs
Sentinel Spectrum No* Given Monthly. *Prevents Flea eggs from hatching once adult flea has jumped on your pet. Heartworm. Yes. Intestinal worms. Yes. Suggest using Capstar, Advantage or Frontline in combination with this product to get rid of Adult Fleas. 3 and 6 Month Packs
Capstar Yes Given as needed when adult fleas are evident on your pet. Fleas only. 6 Tablet Pack
Comfortis Yes Given Monthly. Fleas only. 6 Month Pack

All of these products have been through rigorous testing and are proven to be safe and effective.

What about Flea Shampoos?

Flea shampoos will kill fleas on your pet but have very little residual value. Once the smell of Eucalyptus or the like has faded they’ll soon be back and biting.

There are of course many other Flea products on the market and we certainly can’t list let alone recommend them all. As with anything – some will work better than others. Our recommendation is read the pack carefully and preferably seek professional advice. It’s important that the product you choose is safe, tailored to your pets’ lifestyle and environment and effective against these Flea lifestages. (Eggs, Larvae and Adults)

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do – Carefully read the instructions and use only on the species and ages as recommended.
  • Don’t – Split tablets or share pipettes amongst more than one animal. Each tablet or vial is carefully calculated for a specific weight. Splitting the tablet or vial won’t guarantee equal distribution of the active ingredients so they may not work at all.
  • Do – Buy the right pack size for your pet.

Want something Natural? Chemical Free?

What about Shoo Tag. Safe, Chemical Free Flea and Tick Preventative,

What Price Do We Really Pay for that “Doggie in the Window”?

It’s no secret that we love welcoming new puppies to our clinic. They’re cute, they’re cuddly and make for endless conversation with their happy new owners. But is there another side to all this Puppy Love we’re overlooking?

The story some would tell if only they could speak?

Like – How they grew up on a Puppy Farm” – and the days or weeks spent locked up in a small cage behind a glass window at a Pet Shop, or the way their mother and siblings were treated and housed.

While thankfully, many of the puppies we see come from reputable breeders who care deeply about their dogs, their puppies and breeding practices, some unfortunately don’t have such a great start to life. Some puppies are the product of commercial “Puppy Farming” which survives through mass production of endless litters of puppies of all breeds and combinations. These puppies are then sold either directly to the public via the internet or through specific pet retailers.

Over the years many organisations have been campaiging against the sale of puppies and kittens through Pet stores and other similar outlets to curb the mass production of these puppies. The two main reasons for this are:

To stomp out the cruelty an inhumane treatment of the breeding bitches who year after year are forced to produce litter after litter of puppies, often under appalling conditions and deprived of even basic veterinary care.
To stem the flow of unwanted dogs and puppies produced by the system who never find a home or are abandoned and end up in shelters and pounds. Tragically – many of these poor souls never find a home and end up being killed.

Fortunately many Pet Stores have joined the campaign and now do not sell puppies or kittens through their stores for these very reasons. Some have changed their focus from pet retailing to Pet Adoption – a worthy effort.

But despite all this, these farms continue to flourish as the demand for puppies persists and the general public remains oblivious to how they’re produced.

With Christmas on the horizon and bringing with it the possibility of a cute puppy from Santa – it’s an issue worthy of a blog post.

So if you are considering adding a new addition to your family anytime soon, think about these:

  • What about adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue or adoption centre? You don’t need to buy a puppy to end up with a loving and loyal adult companion. (Between our own staff we’ve adopted 4 adult dogs which have adapted beautifully and are now a much loved part of the family) Not to mention, quite a few cats too!
  • If you meet face to face with a breeder you can view the parents and possibly the other siblings. This is important because you’ll get an idea of what your puppy will look and act like when it’s fully grown. In addition, it’s an opportunity to learn about your puppy’s genetic background and upbringing.
  • If you buy from a Pet Store or via the internet – while you might get lucky, you’re risking the unknown. We’ve seen many puppies come through the clinic over the years supposedly a specific breed or mix which ended up looking nothing like what they were purported to be.

There are many people and organisations that are speaking out against the mass production of puppies and the banning of sales of puppies and kittens through Pet Retailers. Here are are just some of their stories.

How to Choose a Puppy School

Now that we no longer offer Puppy Classes we often get asked by clients about where to go and what to expect from the program. Here’s what we suggest.

Do a little digging before you buy.

Back in the days when we started running Puppy Classes, it was a relatively new concept so you didn’t really have a great deal of choice.

Nowdays, the Puppy market has changed considerably and many more businesses are offering this valuable service to their customers.

But like anything, you’ll find that each program will have it’s own unique style, methods and content so it pays to shop around. You’ll find that most veterinary clinics run Puppy Classes or “Puppy Parties” as they’re sometimes called, as do most of the larger Pet Stores. There are also private trainers who offer puppy and dog socialisation and training as a standalone service. They are sometimes contracted by clinics and pet stores to run their classes for them in house.

Your first task of course is to find a class that fits your schedule. You’ll find that many are run either on a weekday evening or a weekend.

Secondly: – ask for an overview of the program. Find out what topics are covered, goals of the program, what methods they use and what they expect from you and your puppy as participants.

Thirdly: – and this is important – find out about the instructors. What are their qualifications and experience in both puppy health care, behaviour and training? Not all instructors are created equal and given that what you learn can influence your puppy’s future behaviour, it’s worth getting the right advice from the start.

Your instructor should be knowledgable about all aspects of Puppy health and behaviour and use proven training and socialisation strategies.

Finally – there’s cost. You’ll find that prices vary depending on content, session times and length of the course. Some offer a 4 week program, some may run over 5 weeks.

As far as price is concerned – we recommend comparing value rather than cost based on all the things mentioned above.

Important topics that should be covered in the program include: (Well, that’s what we used to include)

  • Parasite control – Fleas, Heartworm, Intestinal worms
  • Desexing
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Dental care
  • Basic grooming techniques
  • Microchipping and registration
  • Socialisation methods
  • Basic training tips – lead walking, basic commands
  • Housetraining methods
  • Communication strategies and basics of dog behaviour. How dogs learn.
  • Physical exercice and brain stimulating activities
  • Integrating your dog into the family – kids and dogs
  • Responsible pet ownership

As you can see, there’s a lot to learn about puppies and a lot to cram into a short space of time – all while your puppy mingles and socialises with his new found friends.

To be eligible to attend Puppy Classes, your puppy will need to be up to date with Vaccinations and meet the age requirements of that particular class. You’ll find that’s usually around 6 – 18 weeks of age.

For our puppy owners we’re happy to refer you on to our local, qualified Dog and Puppy Trainer Karen from Dog Solutions.

X-Rays and Anaesthesia. Why these two go hand in hand

Have you ever wondered why your vet often quotes a fee for sedation or anaesthesia when your pet needs X-Rays?

Because our animal patients can’t be told to lie still.

If you’ve ever had X-rays taken then you’d know all about the importance of keeping extremely still while the Radiologist steps behind the safety screen and clicks the shutter on the X-Ray machine.

Unfortunately – vets don’t have that luxury. Our patients don’t understand those kind of instructions. They don’t take too kindly to being placed upside down on a table and splaying their limbs. They’d much prefer to jump off the table and bolt for the door.

So, the only solution to getting a compliant patient – and a clear picture is to send them to sleep for the procedure.

This allows us to position the patient correctly and capture the clearest pictures without exposing them and their handlers to unecessary, harmful radiation.

Sedating dog for X-Rays

We all know that any exposure to radiation is dangerous and so it’s important that safety protocols are followed when using this powerful tool. In radiology – every picture must be held accountable! There’s no room for trial and error and multiple shots just to get one quality image.

By giving your pet a short anaesthetic or a sedative (depending on the situation) – we not only ensure the safety of our staff, we are also minimising your pets’ exposure to harmful radiation. In addition, it’s less stressful for your pet – and far less painful, especially if sore or broken limbs are involved.

Sometimes we have people who insist we take X-Rays without any form of sedation. Please understand – this is not your call to make. As employers of health workers, we have a legal obligation to ensure that strict safety protocols are followed when performing radiographic procedures.

There are of course situations where sedation or anaesthesia is not necessary.

  • The patient is exceptionally compliant and can be adequately positioned with minimal physical restraint
  • The patient is classified as a high anaesthesia risk – due to age or underlying condition
  • Pregnancy – X-Rays to determine or confirm pregnancy are performed without chemical restraint

On admission of your pet for X-Rays we will always obtain your consent for sedation or anaesthesia as a standard. Once we’ve examined your pet we’ll then use our professional judgement as to whether chemical restraint will be necessary to get the images we need.

Hope you understand, safety is important – for everyone.