posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 in From the Mailbox of Dr. M
March is upon us, and believe it or not, the return of fleas and ticks by the thousands will be coming right along with it. The past few winters have not been cold enough to provide an adequate kill off of these pesky parasites. Therefore, I have been strongly encouraging many pet owners to evaluate their flea and tick protocols and make sure we are providing enough protection. For clients that discontinue use of a flea and tick medication during the winter, I advise that by March 15th, flea and tick medication is initiated again. I know there are many generic and over the counter options available at places such as Shopko, Walmart, and even online, but I hope that I can give you some brief insight as to why buying flea and tick product from a veterinary clinic is a much safer and cheaper option in the long run.
Top 5 reasons to buy your flea and tick medications from our veterinary clinic:
1. Pharmaceutical companies are more likely to back their product purchased at a veterinary clinic.
2. Rebate offers/special savings on products.
a. We know that you can get a “product” cheaper somewhere else, so often times, companies will provide us with special rebate coupons that we can pass the savings along to you.
3. Guaranteed chemical analysis in product.
a. Simple: what you are paying for, you are getting with the product. There are no hidden fillers, or uncertainties with the type of ingredients in the product. The same cannot be ascertained with products purchased OTC. Last fall and early winter we saw the highest amount of patients with fleas, and many of them were on a product purchased at a local chain store.
4. Professional advice on products that will work specifically for your pet.
a. Due to slight variations in product make up, some animals may have reactions to certain topical products, or some ingredients found in over the counter products are actually toxic to cats. An example of this would be Pyrethrins. Many OTC flea and tick products that are labeled for both dogs and cats, contain this harmful ingredient. Pyrethrins can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures, and even death when toxic levels enter a cat’s system. Veterinary professionals can also give advice on products that better fit your animal’s lifestyle. For instance, a topical product may not be the best coverage for an animal that is prone to jumping in water shortly after application, or even for some long haired dogs that do not sit still long enough to have the product properly applied. This would be a case where we would introduce your pet to an oral flea and tick product.
5. Flexibility to switch between an oral or topical product.
a. As pharmaceutical companies continue to battle the war on fleas and ticks, they are constantly looking for ways to improve their products and method of delivery. Over the last several years, a new strategy has been introduced: chewable flea and tick control. Taken just like a treat, many animals take to this form of flea and tick prevention very well.
The famous saying around our clinic is “Fleas are the easiest thing to get, and the hardest thing to get rid of.” When your pet and home become infested with fleas, it can take anywhere from 4-12 months to completely get rid of the problem. The flea life cycle consists of 4 stages; hence the reason why it is a four month minimum to clean up a flea problem. During this time period, expect expenses for treatment of your pets, but also treatment of your house and yard by professional exterminators. A cost estimate for performing such services can range anywhere from $400 to upwards of $1000. In comparison, six months of flea and tick medication for a medium size dog is approximately only $115.
Though I have harped on the flea issue in this article, I also do want to put a plug in for the importance of the tick coverage as well. Certain species of ticks can carry a disease known as Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be fatal in animals if not caught soon enough and treated aggressively.
I hope this month I have started the thought process on why flea and tick coverage is so important, but also why it is so important to be purchased from a veterinary clinic. I look forward to seeing you all for spring wellness exams and our team is ready to help you choose a flea and tick product that is the best option for your pet!