Q: I found a few fleas on my dogs last week. It seems like the weather just got warm, and so I had not started my flea medications yet. When do you recommend starting flea meds every year? P.L., Farragut
A: Given the warm winters we’ve had in past years, we recommend flea and tick prevention year round.
In our office, we unfortunately find fleas and ticks on pets even in the winter. Fleas can cause irritation, secondary bacterial infections, and transmit tapeworms.
And with tickborne diseases on the rise, prevention is more important than ever. Prevention is so much easier than treatment, as fleas can lay 20 to 50 eggs per day. Fleas have a lengthy life cycle, with eggs that can hatch out in a few days, a few weeks or a few months.
There are many safe options for prevention for dogs and cats. There are topical and oral products available, some of which also provide protection against heartworms and intestinal parasites. Most preventatives are used monthly, and there is one that lasts for 12 weeks.
Talk to your veterinarian about which product is best for your pet, since he/she can evaluate your pet’s health status, discuss any preexisting conditions such as dry skin or allergies, and take your pet’s lifestyle into consideration before recommending a product.
If you have questions about your pet, e-mail them to Dr. Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org