you noticed an explosion of fleas with your companions
this season? I certainly have and so, apparently have
Esteban and his dog, Carter.
is a 5-year-old English bulldog living with Esteban and
his family in Farmington, Calif. He has the run of his
house and his half-acre back yard, which he shares with
various wild creatures and a stray cat or five. Carter,
as one might expect having to share his space with many
other creatures, has had a history of flea infestation,
usually in the spring and summer. Esteban has used
Frontline, a topical flea treatment and preventative, to
combat Carterís flea population and has had good
success, that is, until this year.
in late March, Carter began to show the telltale signs
of tiny livestock inhabiting his hair coat. He would
spend inordinate amounts of time scratching, especially
his tail base and inguinal area. Esteban knew the
behavior having seen it in the past with Carter and
indeed upon closely examining him, he discovered a
massive load of fleas.
came the Frontline with Esteban fully expecting a
massive flea die off. Unfortunately, that was not the
case. Within one week of application, Esteban was
finding just as many fleas on Carter as he did
pre-treatment. He wants to know: What is going on?
is experiencing what we as veterinarians have been
seeing for some time now and that is a decrease in
efficacy of Frontline. Over time and with constant
exposure to flea preventatives, fleas will eventually
develop some degree of resistance to the product. This
resistance is passed on generation to generation among
the fleas, rendering the product less and less
effective. This may indeed be happening with Frontline.
It is for this reason that I have stopped recommending
Frontline for flea prevention in my dog and cat
addressing a flea infestation as is the case with
Carter, it is important to understand the flea life
cycle. Only 5 percent of the total flea population lives
on the dog. These are the adult fleas. The female flea,
after taking her blood meal from the dog, lays her eggs
that drop off into the environment, which in Carterís
case includes inside the house and out in his half-acre
yard. The eggs develop into a larval stage, which then
becomes a pupae, which then hatches as a new adult flea.
These new fleas immediately begin their bloodthirsty
trek to their new victim as the cycle begins anew.
Carterís particular situation, I would recommend
Esteban try a new topical flea preventative called
Activyl. This will destroy Carterís flea population
and prevent new colonization as well. One of the great
things about this product is that the flea does not have
to bite Carter in order to die. After all, it is the
flea bite that irritates the dog! The flea simply
contacts the product and itís off to the graveyard.
only 5 percent of the total flea population resides on
the victim; the other 95 percent lives in the
environment. Since Carter appears to be dealing with a
rather large total population of fleas, it would be
advisable to not only treat him with Activyl but to also
treat his environment.
half-acre yard would be a tall task to take on as a
homeowner, though it can be done. Otherwise, an
exterminator can be called in. The house itself however
is manageable as a do-it-yourself project.
needs to talk with Carterís veterinarian to discuss
Carterís specific digs and devise a coordinated
assault on those blood sucking fleas with the ultimate
goal of giving Carter a flea-free life.