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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preventing Parasitic Diseases in Cats

By Randy Jones

Internal and external parasites are responsible for the vast majority of illnesses and disorders seen in dogs. The common dog flea is the number one health problem facing these pets. Chewing and scratching are the common signs of a flea “allergy” caused when a dog is bitten by a flea and the allergy develops and continues even after the fleas are long gone. Fleas are also disease carriers and can threaten the dog’s health as well.

If you’ve tried all the powders, sprays, and shampoos, you might want to get a more dedicated treatment. The three products most used by Veterinarians are Program, Advantage, and Frontline. The really great thing about all three products is that each is dedicated to one purpose, elimination fleas, and you only need to use them once a month.

The oldest of these medications is Program. It is an oral drug that affects only the flea, not your pet. It works by sterilizing the flea so that no more young are produced. Since flea larvae make up over 50% of the flea population, this is very effective at breaking the flea life cycle. After 60 to 90 days, (2-3 treatments), Program will reach its maximum effectiveness, and will only need one treatment each month thereafter to maintain.

Advantage and Frontline are topical products that are placed on the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. They then spread over you pet’s body and will paralyze and then kill any flea coming in contact with the product. These flea products are especially useful for those pets that are flea allergic, as the flea doesn’t have to bite to be eliminated.

Advantage eliminates fleas within 12 hours after contact, before they lay eggs to prevent re-infestation. It has a waterproof formula that won’t wash off and continues working even when the dog gets wet. Frontline comes in 2 forms, regular Frontline, and Frontline Plus. Both Frontline formulas are waterproof, but have the added benefit of eliminating ticks as well. While regular Frontline kills both fleas and ticks for up to 1 month, Frontline Plus continues to kill fleas for up to 3 months.

All the products mentioned are safe for your pet and have been used by Veterinarians for many years. In addition, Program can be used along with either of the topicals for complete protection. Most Veterinarians recommend Program for year round use, and then add Advantage or Frontline during the worst of the flea season (April to October).


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