Flea help needed

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by ach, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. ach

    ach Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    I not sure whether to go into panick mode or not yet.... so any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

    We have 2 dogs, and I regularly bathe them & once a month use a spot-on treatment (Zodiac, a brand over the counter). I treated them July 30 with it, and have been using it for this year (last year, I used BioSpot, but our one dog objected to it highly and licked it until she was sick, so we switched to another less objectionable spot on, namely Zodiac) .

    Anyway, last week, one of the dogs started itching like crazy. My memories of our cat as a kid, and it getting infested w/ fleas, made me think I'd better check it out. So I did and found flea dirt on the one dog but not the other, but no live fleas. We immediately vacuumed the house, washed the dog's bedding in hot water. I bathed both dogs with flea shampoo and saw no fleas on either. Then I retreated with BioSpot. The itching went away a little, but is back, and I checked & found three live fleas on the one dog and a very small amount of flea dirt on the other.

    I called vet, hoping for some useful advice. They told me that the over the counter stuff doesn't work, is toxic to puppies and to cats (duh, that's why one is supposed to read the label, which states that!), and that permethrin, the active ingredient in the over the counter spot-ons is absorbed into all the animals tissues, not just the skin, so the USDA is going to ban its use by the end of the year. What? You'd think, since I subscribe to 2 dog mags and several horse mags that I'd have heard about that. Small rant--of course the vet was too busy to talk to me, according to the receptionist, so this info is all from her. I asked her, other than switching to the $10/treatment vet prescription stuff, what does the vet suggest? Her answer-bomb the house.

    So my 2 questions are:
    1) Should I freak out & spray the house (furniture, upholstery, etc.), bathe the dogs again, and reapply the flea treatment, and treat the yard? I have nightmares still sometimes from when our cat had fleas so bad...... But DH is like, lets not panic--the spot on is supposed to kill them, so they were probably dying. (2 of the three I saw were pretty lethargic for fleas, and I easily killed them).

    2) Should I switch to Frontline Plus? If so, does anyone know if a prescription is required? I know it is for Revolution (which is a pill that also has heartworm med in it). Those were the two products the vet office mentioned.

    Oh, in case it matters, our dogs go out in a small fenced yard; I can't figure out how they got fleas, unless either our neighbor's two dogs somehow got fleas, or some small critter (rabbit or squirrel) brought them to our yard......

    Any thoughts & suggestions would be SOOO appreciated!

    Anne
     
  2. ltbloom

    ltbloom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Location:
    Texas

  3. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,992
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    Where to start? As far as I know the only flea product that's going off the market in early 2006 is Hartz Cat Drops. I've never used the Zodiac myself and I've not seen too many patients that have come in with it (mostly see Hartz around here). I do think the Frontline Plus works better, plus it's guaranteed (if you buy it from a vet). It is not a prescription and can be found in many pet supply stores (but the guarantee is void if not purchased from a vet). It sounds like the one dog is allergic to the fleas. If you don't want to go to the vet for a prescription, you could see if Benadryl would help. I don't know how big your dogs are but my rule of thumb is about 1mg of Benadryl for each pound of dog (you may need children's Benadryl for small dogs and with big dogs I usually round down). I would probably spray the house and yard myself (I hate fleas!). I wouldn't bathe the dogs for at least a few days after applying the spot-on (and then only use a really gentle dog shampoo) and wouldn't reapply the spot-on for at least 3 weeks. Hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!
     
  4. ach

    ach Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Thanks for the suggestions.... Do you think we need to go the full route (treat the yard & house)? Or should I just keep an eye on it & not panic yet?

    Edited to add: the dog with the problems is 75 lb half-German shepherd, and the other dog is 65 lb mutt.

    Anne
     
  5. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,308
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Trying to cut costs, I bought the cheaper flea drops and all it did was cause my cat to loose hair and skin where I applied it. I can't remember if I use frontline or the other well known one, but all I can say, this year (spring/summer) it's just not working.

    I've taken to vaccuuming the bed with my Dyson & the pet hair attachment to get the eggs, nits & larvae. I'm at a loss as to what to put on them that will keep the fleas off, and am not in a position where I can treat my entire yard, yet.

    Anyone have info on nematodes that may work?
     
  6. Guinea mama

    Guinea mama Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    My all time favorite and the one I found that works best is Revolution. If it get it from petshed.com it is the cheapest. I have found too that all the cheap stuff in the world, tried it all, doesn't work, and in the end will cost you more money. My next favorite is Advantix. Also get the flea spray from the vet and use it, it can not be beat. Next year get the best from the get go and save money and heartache, for the dog. My lab is allergic to flea bites and develops hot spots with every flea bite she gets so we must be proactive for sure. Good luck.
     
  7. airotciv

    airotciv Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,758
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Had this problem in the spring, tried all of the over the counter products for the dogs and cats, nothing seem to work. Then I went to the Vet. This is what I was told, quit wasting my money on the animals and treat the real problem the enviorment. I use, thanks to the Vets reccomendation, Zodiac Multi-Purpose Home & Insect spray. Sprayed the dog beds, all the rugs and any where the dogs hang out. No Fleas for the last 3 months. I do spray once a month during the summer months and will spray once every 3 months during the fall/winter months, just to get the fleas under controll. As for the yard. I have 5 acers, and I can't aford that, plus the chemicals needed to kill the fleas also kill the good bugs Hope this helps.
     
  8. Lararose

    Lararose Adams Nebraska

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Location:
    82 acres SE Nebraska
    Battling fleas. If you decide you need to treat your home for fleas there are a few things to know about fleas and the life cycle. For every flea you see there are many more( probably 100) that you don't. When you treat you need to treat in steps. Treat your dogs, the house and the environment. When you treat your house you have to remember some things about the life of the flea. There are eggs, larvae,pupae and adults. In the egg stage they can be killed with most of the products on the market with an egg killer. Make sure it lists kills eggs. As you read the labels you will notice there is one life stage that is not listed. Pupae. You can not kill a pupae. You can treat with a flea product with an insect growth regulator that mutates larval fleas in their pupae. Fleas lie in wait in pupae until they feel vibrations that signal them to come out. That is often why you hear the advice vacuum often. The heat and vibrations from your vacuum will signal them to come out of their pupae (usually a week to 10 days), so you then can treat them. That is why some people think that flea products do not work. They will bomb or spray and then in a week or two they have just as many fleas back as they got rid of, if not more. You have to re-treat to get them all. You should treat now while you are only seeing a few, they will only continue to breed and get worse. A female flea can lay 2000 eggs in her lifetime (average 2-3 months) The larvae eat organic debris in their environment not blood. Throw that vacuum bag away it is a flea buffet!!!
     
  9. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,714
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    Bel Aire, KS
    I don't do any of that stuff. Vaccuming inside the house every few days helps. What I do is I get Advantagtix (sp?) and that stuff works remarkably fast! I also give my dogs Sentinel when I have the money because Sentinel makes sure that fleas can't reproduce and it's a heartworm med. I usually dose with a generic form of Ivomec when I don't have that much money and it last a long time. Get rid of cats if you have them. I'm sorry but cats are more expensive and more time cosuming to take care of than dogs and their fleas are being constantly brought in from outside so I got rid of mine. It also didn't help that I kept having asthma attacks and the dr said in a small enclosed place like an apt I was always going to have asthma attacks so off they went! Now fleas aren't at my apt anymore. The cats were the problem.
     
  10. ach

    ach Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Thanks again for the suggestions. At least I feel like I have a handle on how to deal with this, and feel that we can get it taken care of before it gets out of control.

    Anne
     
  11. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,067
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    deep south texas
    Try planting MUMS in your yard and keep a few in the house Thats where the active ingrediant comes from in flea sprays and treatments.
     
  12. Jotun

    Jotun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    Va
    Feed garlic and spray your animal with a mixture of water and essintial oils, I recommend citronella, eucalyptus, mint and any soothing agent such as cammomile or aloe. Your dog may be somewhat objectional to chemicales.
     
  13. Jc05

    Jc05 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    An easy thing that will work in the house is to plug in a nightlight and put a bucket or pan of soapy water under the nightlight when you go to bed. The fleas will go toward the light and jump into the water and drown and the soap seems to kill them so they don't jump back out. If you have fleas, you'll be amazed at how many this will catch.
     
  14. christy

    christy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    68
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas
    I had a litter of pups get fleas the one and only time about 4 years ago. The pups were only a few days old. Called the vet and he told me to line the bed with cedar chips and cover with a sheet and it would get rid of the fleas. Well, I was skeptical but did it and I have not had fleas since. I keep a old pillow case behind the couch and keep cedar dog bed and I freshen every 9 months or so.

    My dad has cats and a year ago adopted a cat that had fleas. The house became infested so bad and my dad tried everything and couldn't get rid of them. Called me and said with all those animals you have how come you don't have any fleas? Told him about the cedar and he tried it and it got rid of the fleas.
     
  15. Garnetridge

    Garnetridge Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    I have used Essential Oils in shampoo to bathe them but as a spray or even applied neat (full strength) they absorb so fast that they don't last very long. Plain soapy water kills them so no real need to put them in shampoo. I have tried EOs for fly and misquito repellant with no luck -- used as many as you can think of and then some, neat on a horse's leg and it was covered in twenty seconds with the same flies. I just don't think they work because they don't stay on the surface of the skin.

    DE works pretty well, but is not 100%

    All the concentrates like Advantage and Frontline are
    toxic chemicals, disrupt hormones and well frankly if you can not keep a pet without applying toxic chemicals to them you gotta ask yourself if you really just need a pet rock. <wink>
     
  16. deb

    deb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2002
    Location:
    WI
    We've used Frontline Plus for years and have had no fleas on the dogs or on us or in the house. If you stay on the once a month application you will also find no live ticks on your dog either (fleas protection lasts a little longer).

    Zodiac is a good brand, but it really doesn't compare to Frontline Plus. I used to use Zodiac flea shampoo when I lived in a big city because my dog would only occassionally pick up a flea or tick during a walk. The farther I moved from the city, the less Zodiac worked well, so I switched to Frontline Plus and have never looked back.

    As for where did the fleas come from, I would guess visiting cats...because cat fleas really like dogs! Rodents can have fleas as well, but a cat can harbor a multitude of fleas compared to a mouse.

    We have lots of deer in our area, but ticks close to the house come from mice and rabbits

    deb
    in wi
     
  17. greenboy

    greenboy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,199
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I know that boric acid it's great against cockroaches, and plamato bugs, and I don't know maybe works for fleas, in my stage in life when I had a Zoo in my house, and waisting a lot of money in animals, I had a roach problem, Boric Acid, took care of it and I never, never had a flea problem and I always asked myself the question about boric acid and the fleas, the boric acid is harmles and cheap, you may get it in the web, just do a search, last time I got it for my mother, in a dollar store. Do nothing to your pets, taste nasty to them, but for bugs do two things. (for roaches idon't about fleas)
    1. make the roach to eat the boric acid and for them is like cocaine for us, they can't stop eating this, until they stave themselve, the roaches when they died of a natural death usually died in their nest, when they do that the other roaches eat them, so this create a vicious cycle until all the bugs are dead.
    2. the boric acid makes the skin or the exosqueleton of the bug permable to the weather, they loose water, and they die. this may be the way to kill fleas. i don't know may help you may not.
    My grandmother kept a cat for years and she had "moth ball" under certain furniture in the house " to keep the fleas away" she always stated, this made her house to smell weird but I never saw bugs in her house which it was very tidy let me add. Well Godspeed....
     
  18. greenboy

    greenboy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,199
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Do you worry what all those chemicals are doing to your health and DH health?
    why you have to keep animals inside the house? is not my busness I know but I will be worry sick thinking about having all that poison in my skin all day long.
    :(
     
  19. cnmfarm

    cnmfarm Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    The other thing you need to remember is when you do apply the frontline Plus, or Advantix, whichever you choose, (I've had the best luck with the Frontline) You have to wait at least 24 hours after bathing. A lot of people will bathe their dogs and then immediatley apply the product. It needs the oils in the coat to return to adhere to the hair. If not it won't last and won't work. I'm not a fan of chemicals either but I like fleas even Less and have not had any problem with them since using the Frontline. I also tried the over the counter stuff and ended up wasting more money in the long run. To save money check out your local tack shop, feed mills, and I've had good luck buying on e-bay. You also must treat your house, dog bedding, and yard if at all possible. As stated in one of the previous posts you must retreat in 7 to 10 days to kill the fleas that will hatch after the initial treatment. Nothing will kill the pupae. Good luck.

    Cindy
     
  20. Garnetridge

    Garnetridge Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Here is some info on Boric Acid. Although it is a low toxicity product it is *not* harmless. You can always check the Material Safety Data Sheet on any chemical or product by entering the product name, preferably the chemical name and MSDS in a Google search.

    ==================================
    Here is a link to an MSDS on Boric Acid:

    http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/B3696.htm

    "Potential Health Effects:
    Inhalation:
    Causes irritation to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. May be absorbed from the mucous membranes, and depending on the amount of exposure could result in the development of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, rash, headache, fall in body temperature, low blood pressure, renal injury, cyanosis, coma, and death.
    Ingestion:
    Symptoms parallel absorption via inhalation. Adult fatal dose reported at 5 to > 30 grams.
    Skin Contact:
    Causes skin irritation. Not significantly absorbed through the intact skin. Readily absorbed through damaged or burned skin. Symptoms of skin absorption parallel inhalation and ingestion.
    Eye Contact:
    Causes irritation, redness, and pain.
    Chronic Exposure:
    Prolonged absorption causes weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, convulsions and anemia. Liver and particularly the kidneys may be susceptible. Studies of dogs and rats have shown that infertility and damage to testes can result from acute or chronic ingestion of boric acid. Evidence of toxic effects on the human reproductive system is inadequate.
    Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
    Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems, or impaired liver, kidney or respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance."

    =============================


    And instructions on how to use it for fleas:

    http://www.biconet.com/crawlers/boricAcid.html

    From the second link:
    "Boric Acid Powder
    An easy-to-use boric acid (100%) powder that is odorless and nonstaining. Kills roaches, water bugs, ants, fleas and silverfish. Insects walk through the dust, ingest it, and die within hours.

    Application Instructions:
    GENERAL:
    Apply lightly to cracks, crevices and surfaces, where crawling insects frequent.
    Sprinkle around baseboards, under and behind refrigerator, stove, sink, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer.
    Also, sprinkle into openings around drain pipes and electrical conduits, and in cracks and crevices along baseboards and corners of cabinets, cupboards and closets.
    FLEA CONTROL:
    Apply directly to carpets where pets frequently traffic or sleep at the rate of 1.5 pounds per 150 square feet.
    Vacuum area at least twice prior to application of boric acid. Work powder deep into fibers and mat.
    Any powder visible after application must be brushed into carpet fibers.
    Allow powder to remain for a period of three weeks to achieve maximum flea control in carpets."