Flea Preventative Medications: Oral vs. Topical

Fleas are not only a source of irritation and frustration, but they also pose a serious health threat to animals. These tiny external parasites can carry a variety of diseases, including bubonic plague, and severe infestations may cause deadly levels of blood loss in very small or young pets, according to national animal welfare organizations. Owners must therefore employ every preventative measure to keep these creatures off of their beloved pets, including the use of topical or oral medications.

The first line of defense is prevention. Prevention can be as simple as removing fleas and their eggs from your household by cleaning, vacuuming, and applying pet-safe pesticides to the yard. Keeping your grass mowed and removing excess sources of shade can rob fleas of their preferred environmental conditions, discouraging them from breeding in the yard. But no matter how scrupulously you keep your indoor and outdoor environments under control, at some point your pet is likely to need some form of flea treatment. These treatments may take topical ("spot-on") or oral forms.

Topical Medications

Topical or "spot-on" flea treatments are readily accessible to pet owners. These products can be highly effective at eliminating flea infestations or preventing new ones from occurring. Veterinary organizations point out, however, that while approved flea preventatives are generally considered safe, owners must follow the instructions on the label with great care to prevent a possible toxic or otherwise adverse reaction to the chemicals in the product. Animal welfare organizations also warn owners never to give cat flea treatments to their dogs or vice versa, because the results could prove fatal.

Oral Medications

Oral flea medications also have their pros and cons. In addition to topical treatments widely available, veterinary clinics also prescribe oral products such as Comfortis. Typically, regular monthly doses of such drugs aim to kill fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs, stopping infestations before they start. You may find that the oral delivery method creates less of a mess than the topical route, while also eliminating concerns over skin reactions to the active ingredients. But oral medications may also cost more than topical treatments, and prescriptions will need to be refilled regularly to maintain constant protection.

Sources:

AVMA, “Flea and Tick Treatments: EPA’s Investigation of Spot-On.”

Comfortis, “Controlling Fleas in Your Home.”

Cruz, Bernadine, DVM; Mesenhowski, Shannon, DVM, “Save Use of Flea and Tick Preventative Products.” AVMA, Dec 2012.

Call to schedule your pet's wellness or urgent care exam now: (952) 758-6722

Testimonials

  • We have been clients of New Prague Animal Care for over 13 years. They have provided exceptional and compassionate care for our “pack” (6 dogs and 3 cats). As a professional dog trainer, breeder of Best in Show and Master Hunter Retrievers as well an owner of multiple kennel/ doggy daycare facilities (30+ years), I have worked with numerous veterinary clinics both in the Twin Cities and nationwide. Dr. Steve and his crew rate among the finest I have worked with. The clinic has all of the fea

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  • My dad has taken all of his dogs there for years, and I take mine there as well. Dr. Lavalle's bedside manner is amazing, and his staff are so genuine and caring. I always have, and will continue referring people to take their pets here. They are hands down the best veterinary care in the area!

    - Amber C
  • Have taken our dogs to Dr. Lavallee for over 10 years and he is great with each of them. He and his staff are very caring and helpful.

    - Barb S
  • Middle of a snow storm a few days ago. My little puppy was injured. I live in Faribult. Vet offices were closed in town. They actually called me while in route to see if I was ok. They were so good with the puppy. The cost was very reasonable. Called today to see how everything was going. I really was very impressed with this office. I recommend this place.

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  • Awesome experience! My pets love the care they get from Dr. Lavallee and his staff! They are not just a number; they care for them like my babies are family! Would highly recommend them!

    - SGGM
  • Found a 6-wk old kitten on the side of the highway and brought it in at 7pm on emergency basis. I was blown away by the compassion of Dr. Johnson's team. What a great experience. True animal people!

    - Anna H
  • Moved to New Prague and found this place for our dog.. Such great service, friendly staff, amazing Dr. and very accommodating to all of our needs!! Highly recommended by my pet family!!!

    - Kerri N
  • We love New Prague Animal Care, they are always so kind and caring, from the phone calls to when you walk in. We take our Siberian Husky Bandit in and he gets so much attention, well loved. We've had to take him in twice for emergencies, the in house testing was great, Dr. Johnson was able to resolve the issue almost immediately. I wouldn't take him anywhere else.

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    Read More - Myra C

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