Flea treatment advice

There are so many flea products to choose from… how do I pick the right one?

It’s that time of year again! Sydney Summer is the equivalent of Mardi Gras for fleas, when whole generations of baby fleas can be produced in as little as 12 days, and a female flea can lay up to 2000 eggs in her lifetime (of about 1 year). And while we might think fleas all come from ‘other animals’ at the park or outdoors; fleas are very clever at setting up shop inside our own homes (especially carpets, upholstered furniture, between floorboards etc). Even if we aren’t seeing fleas on our pets, they can still be in our environment.

We are so lucky to have a range of very effective and safe treatments for fleas. But with so many on the market, which one to choose?

A few questions to narrow it down:

(Please note, this information applies specifically to dogs, and manufacturers are listed at end of article; the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital does not have any commercial agreements with these manufacturers, so this information is for general purposes.)

Does your dog refuse to take tablets or eat ‘chewies’? Then a top-spot (small vial of fluid squeezed onto the skin) is a great alternative. Consider Bravecto, Activyl, Advantage, Advantix, Advocate or Revolution. There is also a ‘new generation’ flea collar called Seresto, which is very easy to fit and use.

Does your dog have itchy or allergic type of skin problems? There are some products which are known to kill fleas more quickly and more efficiently than others which will help reduce the itch for allergic dogs. The products we recommend in this situation are Simparica, Comfortis, Capstar tablets and Credelio.

Do you have ticks in your area? Or are you travelling to a tick area? Any coastal areas of NSW, as well as pockets of bushland where bandicoots are known to live, are home to paralysis ticks. These are life-threatening parasites, so choosing a product that effectively treats them is essential. Options that treat fleas and ticks include Simparica, Nexgard, Bravecto (chew or top spot), Credelio, Advantix, Frontline plus, Frontline spray and Seresto collar.

Are there foxes or wombats in your area? These animals can carry a type of mite called Sarcoptes, which is contagious to dogs (and people). If it’s possible for your dog to come into contact with foxes or wombats, or their burrows, it may be worth considering products that treat sarcoptes. These include Simparica, Advocate, and Revolution.

Do you want an ‘all-in-one’ product which includes treatment for heartworm and/or intestinal worms? The most comprehensive products available are Comfortis Plus, Nexgard Spectra, Advocate, Sentinel and Revolution. You may need to check the pack for some differences between what these products treat.

How’s your memory? Are you good at giving products monthly or would you prefer less frequent treatments? The longest acting treatments are Bravecto top spot (every 6 months), Bravecto chews (every 3 months for fleas and every 4 months for ticks) and Seresto collar (every 8 months for fleas and every 4 months for ticks).

If this is still confusing, don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly staff members who can help in the decision-making process. Contact the Uni Vets Camden on 02 4655 0777.


Manufacturers (alphabetically):

Bayer: Advantage, Advocate, Advantix, Seresto collar

Elanco: Comfortis, Comfortis Plus, Credelio, Sentinel, Capstar

Merial: Nexgard, Nexgard Spectra, Frontline plus, Frontline spray

MSD Animal Health: Bravecto, Activyl

Zoetis: Simparica, Revolution

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