As a veterinarian, it never ceases to amaze me how medical technology has changed during the past 22 years. Certainly, one area of improvement that has been astounding is the development of newer external parasite control medications.
Once again, the uncontrollable changes of weather patterns have a lot to do with the increase of pets’ exposure to insects such as mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. The extremely mild weather this past winter set the stage for a miserable summer filled with an extraordinary number of insects including those pesky little critters that get on our pets.
It was not that long ago when there was hardly any effective means of flea and tick control for our pets. The flea and tick dip required pet owners to soak their pet for several minutes in a powerful pesticide. The putrid chemical was effective in its immediate kill of fleas and ticks, but it left pets smelling horrible and it had very little residual effect. That means just as soon as pets were exposed to more fleas and ticks, the pesticide dips did not prevent them from jumping right back on.
A few years ago, the biggest breakthrough in pet parasite medical research was uncovered. The parasite control research brought about a flea and tick medication that was easy to apply, nearly odorless, effective and only needed to be used once a month. You only had to apply the new product once a month and it would kill fleas and ticks on contact. This was absolutely the most amazing product in veterinary medicine since the development of antibiotics, in my opinion.
More advanced research brought about technologically advanced flea and tick products that combined flea control with other external and internal parasites. Products arose that combined flea control with heartworm prevention. In addition, there were already products available that combined heartworm prevention with treatment of intestinal parasites such as round worms, hook worms and whip worms.
Therefore, we have multiple products that are effective at treating external and internal parasites. Many of these products treat several different types of parasites with one monthly dose. But, none of the products treat all of the types of parasites that pets are exposed to.
Then researchers improved the products that already seemed amazing. Until recently, the once a month topical flea and tick medications would not prevent fleas and ticks from getting on your dog or cat. As a matter of fact, it took a couple of hours for the medicine to kill fleas and it allowed ticks to bite and attach for several hours before killing them.
Fortunately, now we have a product called Vectra 3D that not only kills fleas, flea larva and a tick if they get on your pet, but it also repels them. Additionally, this product repels mosquitoes which are responsible for carrying heart worms.
Therefore, Vectra 3D helps control several parasitic conditions and several diseases that are carried by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Fleas can cause anemia, or low blood count. They can cause your pet to contract tapeworms and cause flea allergy dermatitis.
Ticks are notorious for transmitting diseases. They can transmit Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrilichiosis, babesiosis, tick paralysis and hepatozoonosis. It’s obvious how important it is to prevent your pet from contracting ticks. As scientific research continues to produce better and better parasite control medicines for pets, pet owners are faced with the decision of which product best suits their pets. With so many products available, it can certainly be very confusing as to which product treats which parasites.
Don’t forget that the Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning to pet owners against buying pet products from online pharmacies. The warning was issued due to a lot of products being tainted and a lot that didn’t contain the correct substance for the labeled product.
Therefore, see your veterinarian for advice about parasite control so that your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.