October 21, 2008, Fort Lee, NJ - As temperatures start to cool down in the fall, pet owners sometimes feel more relaxed about the need for using flea control products on their pets. This is a false sense of security.
According to Dr. George G. Doering, who is a dermatology specialist at the Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital in northern California, “The weather in California is conducive to fleas all year round, so I highly recommend year-round flea protection on both outdoor and indoor cats. Our winters in California do not get cold enough to hold flea populations down outside, so we have cases of cats with fleas that come in all year. Fleas can be out on Christmas Day and July 4th. Throughout the year, I have multiple cases where indoor cats come into my office with fleas. The owner or another pet may have brought fleas from the outside, or the cat could have gotten fleas from walking past the screen door. Definitely pet owners should be protecting pets from fleas year-round.”
Recently, a new line of flea control topicals, Vectra for Cats® and Vectra® for Cats & Kittens, has begun appearing in veterinarian clinics. Dr. Doering, who has been practicing dermatology in the Bay area since 1988, has been impressed with its results.
“The Vectra® line of flea preventative topicals uses an effective combination of a new active ingredient, dinotefuran, which has not previously been used in flea control products," according to Michael Coyne, DVM, Manager of Veterinary Services. "Vectra kills adult fleas in six hours, and kills emerging fleas before they lay eggs. The combination of dinotefuran with an insect growth regulator (IGR), pyriproxyfen, effectively controls the development of all immature flea stages: eggs, larvae and pupae for one month.”
“Vectra® has the quick-kill of adult fleas and a new insecticide which means that fleas should not be resistant," says Dr. Doering. "And, the IGR in the product also has an effect on the immature stages – eggs, larvae and pupae – which can still become adult fleas on your cat. Adult fleas are responsible for the flea stage that bites; however, pupae can survive up to six months in the home or environment. Pupae live in a type of cocoon and can stay dormant in a carpet for months until they are exposed to heat, motion or carbon dioxide released from the cat’s breathing. This can cause pupae to release the adult flea. It is important that cat owners pick up a flea product that has an IGR so the fleas do not have a chance of becoming adults. Whatever product cat owners buy, it must kill the adults and block the three immature growth stages.”
Fleas are not just a nuisance, but a health risk. “The result of a flea bite on a cat can lead to a severe cat flea allergy, and also make other allergies worse," says Dr. Doering. "Flea allergy can come from as few as a half dozen bites per week. Even with only one or two flea bites, the cat will begin chewing their fur. Owners will not see the fleas until they have bitten the cat. It is important to put flea protection on your cat before the problem worsens.”
As a dermatologist, Dr. Doering is adamant that if you protect your pet against flea allergies, you will minimize chances that other allergies will affect them, and you also protect them from other diseases that are transmitted by fleas, such as bartonellosis, tularemia and tapeworms.
“Protecting your pet will also protect your family. Humans can also get flea bites," says Dr. Doering. "We have had cases of fleas even on babies. Fleas are very difficult to find and people will not always know that the itchiness they are experiencing is caused by fleas. I have had some cat owners go to the dermatologist with these symptoms and be told they have fleas. Also, if we swallow fleas, we can get tapeworms as well.”
For this reason, the faster the speed-of-kill of adult fleas, the better.
“We have to be quite emphatic that an occasional flea allergy is not acceptable, since it affects how the cat will respond to other allergies, Dr. Doering said. Some cats, especially young kittens, will become anemic from flea bites. Unfortunately, many kittens in the U.S. die because of the loss of blood from severe flea infestation.”
Both Vectra® for Cats & Kittens (0.8 mL for cats and kittens 8 weeks and older and less than 9 lbs.) and Vectra for Cats® (1.2 mL for cats weighing 9 lbs. and over) are available in 3-dose and 6-dose packages.
It is always important to consult with a veterinarian before applying any type of flea control treatments.
According to Dr. Doering, “When our office explains the importance of flea control to the pet owner, we are able to diagnose the condition. I explain to the cat owner how to apply the product, and how often they should apply it. All of that takes time but it ensures correct usage of the product for the maximum effect and safety. The Vectra® applicator is easy to use and the package is easy to open. There is ease in application on the cat and the long, round applicator tip goes through the coat very nicely allowing application directly to the skin.”
Vectra® is colorless, odor-free, non-greasy and quick-drying. The unique, patented one- piece applicator makes it easy to open with no need for scissors, and allows pet owners to apply product fast, properly and without risk of skin abrasions on the pet.
Vectra for Cats® and Vectra® for Cats & Kittens are products in a line of vectoricides manufactured for companion animals by Ceva, an animal health company founded by veterinarians and industry professionals dedicated to raising the standards in animal health. Vectra® products are sold only through licensed veterinarians.
About Ceva Animal Health: Ceva’s key companion animal products include the Vectra® line of parasiticides, D.A.P.® and Feliway® pheromone behavior aids and Senilife® neuroprotection for aging pets. Ceva Biomune’s key poultry products include CEVAC® Transmune IBD, Vectormune® FP and Vectormune® HVT. Ceva Biomune Campus and the North America Zone headquarters are both located in Lenexa, Kansas. Visit www.ceva.us.
About Ceva Santé Animale: Ceva’s parent company is a global veterinary health company focused on the research, development, production and marketing of pharmaceutical products and vaccines for pets, livestock, swine and poultry. Its headquarters is in Libourne, France. Visit www.ceva.com.
For more information, please contact Carolyn Gilliland at carolyn.gilliland[at]ceva.com or 913.945.4448.