Flea Control in Oregon City with Milner Veterinary Hospital
Fleas are very common in western Oregon, and Oregon City is no exception. Virtually all pets in Oregon City get fleas, although the vast majority of owners do not realize it. Approximately 85% of owners believe their dog or cat is uniquely immune to fleas. In reality the chance of your pet going an entire summer without fleas is about the same as your house going the entire summer without flies.
Female fleas lay about 40 eggs per day per flea. 40 fleas will lay 48,000 eggs per month. If half of those become females they will lay almost a million eggs the next month, and so on.
Fleas eggs are shaped like tiny chicken eggs. The fleas lay them on you dog or cat and the eggs simply roll off. They roll into your couch, into the cracks along your baseboards and right through the weaving of your carpet.
From there, the eggs hatch into a larvae which, in about 10 days turns into a cocoon. The cocoon is firmly attached to its surroundings much like a spiders nest. This attachment makes it almost impossible to vacuum up. About 95% of the fleas in your house are in the cocoon form.
The fleas can stay in these cocoons, basically in suspended animation, for up to a year. And to make matters worse, they are almost impossible to kill while they are in the cocoon. You almost need to burn your house down to get rid of cocoons. (editor’s note- Don’t burn your house)
Cocoons act like little landmines waiting for a pet. Cocoons are stimulate hatch by heat, vibration and carbon dioxide. When your dog lies down on top of a cocoon he is warm, he wiggles (vibrates) and exhales carbon dioxide. This makes the cocoon say, “Hey, there’s a dog here.” and hatch out. The flea then jumps on your dog and spends the rest of his life (120 days) on him.
Once the adult flea gets on your pet it is easy to kill. The only caveat is that ONCE YOU HAVE A FLEA PROBLEM IT TAKES 6 TO 8 WEEKS TO REMOVE THE FLEAS FROM YOUR HOUSE. The adult fleas will be killed within 10 to 40 minutes after getting on your pet depending on how recently you applied the medication. However, there will be hundreds if not thousands of cocoons that need to hatch and climb on your pet before the entire infestation is cleared. Don’t get discouraged if you are still seeing fleas after applying medication. If you catch a flea and look closely at it, you will see that it is a juvenile about half the size of a regular flea.
Flea control has changed greatly in the past 20+ years. With the advent of Frontline and Advantage in the early 90’s we moved away from the ineffective shampoos, collars, bombs, carpet and yard sprays, flea combs and food supplements. We no longer have to use dangerous products such as organophosphates, pyrethrins and permethrins. Thanks to the pioneering work by Kansas State’s Dr. Dryden, we know that brewer’s yeast, vitamin E and garlic is ineffective against fleas but many other things work well.
There are many effective flea products on the market. At the Milner Veterinary Hospital we carry several of them.
Our favorite flea preventive for cats is Revolution. This very safe medication, is not only effective against fleas for 30 days, but also kills heartworms, roundworms, hookworms and ear mites.
For dogs we prefer Bravecto. This product appears to be the safest on the market. It is also the longest acting. Bravecto will kill fleas and ticks for 3 months. We also like Revolution, Trifexis and Activyl for our dogs. Again we feel these products are safe and effective.
Another very effective, extremely safe area treatment is boric acid. Boric acid, when applied between the carpet and the carpet pad will dry and kill eggs and larvae before they can become a cocoons. Boric acid does not kill adult fleas, but, in a multi-pet household helps prevent infestations. (*Boric acid should never be fed to or applied to a pet.)
At the Milner Veterinary Hospital we recommend year-round flea control. To help facilitate this we have developed a very popular auto-ship program. We mail your flea medication to your house when it is due. We have found with our own pets, that we are often a week or two late applying our flea medication. This give the fleas a chance to reestablish an infestation. With autoship our Bravecto shows up in our mailboxes once every three months and we give it to our dogs that night.
Take Home Message
- Fleas are very prolific and very common in Oregon City.
- Most pets in Western Oregon get fleas
- They are easy to remove from your house and environment
- If you have a flea problem it will take 6 to 8 weeks to resolve the problem
- Year round prevention is usually the easiest, most effective and cheapest solution
- Auto-ship makes prevention even easier.