Don’t Pass the Fleas, PLEASE!

Fleas and ticks! Those pesky critters that love to feed on our beloved pets. Spring and summer is the time for play dates in the park, a hike on a mountain, or a stroll along the trail. These are favorite areas for fleas and ticks to live. They are hiding in the grass, behind the wood log, and on the dog or cat that just passed by to said hello. These culprits are everywhere and can cause itchy skin and other diseases including paralysis. Disease is the number one reason why veterinarians recommend flea and tick preventative medication every month.

Flea and tick preventative medications are important monthly. These medications are either given topically on the skin, in between the shoulder blades, or taken as a pill by mouth. It is recommended for pet owners to purchase these types of products from local veterinarians to ensure the product ingredient accuracy. The manufacturer has guaranteed and approved that the product sold at your veterinarian is safe to use and will not to cause harm to your pets. The products that are sold are up to date for flea resistant type medications. It may also be the most current research on the market. Your veterinarian will give you specific recommendations for products based on the lifestyle of your pet/s. You are given the proper information regarding warnings, side effects, or contraindications if your pet is on other medications.

You may question: why can’t I buy the flea and tick products that are sold in stores or even online? In today’s economy, online pricing may be very appealing to clients. The convenience of at-home shopping also gives online suppliers an edge. There may be flea and tick preventative medications that your veterinarian does not carry which you may prefer.
Although these previous points seem fantastic, there are many risks behind shopping online (see what the FDA has to say about it here). The most important risk is product ingredient and supplier guarantee (did you know that if your pet becomes ill after taking a medication purchased from an online pharmacy or general store, the maker of the medication will not pay for your pet’s treatment? If you purchase your medication through a veterinarian however, the manufacturer will stand behind their drug and pay for any adverse effects it may have on your pet).

Fleas and ticks do not discriminate. If you have a multi-pet household and one of the pets have fleas, it is imperative to treat all the pets for fleas. Common sense will tell us that exposure to fleas and ticks is the number one cause for an infestation to occur. Therefore, indoor cats are less likely than outdoor cats to become burdened with an infestation.
There are some diseases that are associated with fleas and ticks. Quite commonly, flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Dogs and cats are allergic to the saliva of the flea not the actual fleas themselves crawling on their skin.

As soon as the flea bites, the allergic response can begin. Ticks, on the other hand, are vectors for disease. The most common ticks in the East Bay area are American dog tick, Pacific coast tick, Western black leg tick.

Trifexis is our current recommendation for oral preventative medication that treats fleas, intestinal parasites, and heartworm. This is an excellent option for dogs that love to swim or sneak a lap around the pool right after the topical medication is administered. Intestinal parasites are a cause for spread of human disease. For flea and tick preventative topically, our current recommendation is Parastar plus. Revolution is currently our recommended as the topical medication that treats fleas, intestinal parasites, heartworm, and ear mites. The current recommendation for only flea and tick preventative in cats is Easy Spot topical. Trifexis and Revolution medications are recommended because they not only prevent external parasites but internal parasites as well.

Christine Fabregas DVM


  1. and online purchases of of veterinary drugs are dangerous, even flea and tick products! we should be cautious. I once bought a medicine for my dog online but it was expired and the manufacturer did not support it because I had bought from online versus a veterinary hospital. now I know to buy only at the clinic!