Dog Fleas

What determines a flea infestation?. Last year I was at war with them. I bathed my beagles endlessly and bought the expensive flea killer meds. This year ,no fleas. I have seen none. I walk them in the same park they walked in last year.
What is there about the life cycle of fleas that makes them successful one year and not the next.?

I know environment is a factor on flea life cycle, but I’ll let someone with more information on parasitology (and more time to look up relevant cites) with that task.

That said, there are two things I have to mention about your story…

  1. If you’re constantly bathing the dog with anti-flea shampoo, you’re probably washing away the nice expensive flea meds. I assume from the vet, right? Because the OTC ones are not so good. Really, if you’re using the expensive vet products STOP BATHING CONSTANTLY, and if you still bath, wait a day and then reapply the product, even if you put it on a week before you bathe the animal.

  2. That said, fleas are starting to develop resistance to the older expensive products (particularly Frontline and Frontline Plus (fipranil), but sometimes Advantage/Advantix). Since last year, there are at least 2 new topical products, one of them Promeris, and the other one I can’t remember the name offhand, but it was a longer acting version of the short acting Capstar. It is possible the other dogs in your area got the new products and killed the fleas that had not been exposed to them before.

I am pretty sure fleas don’t just hang out solely on your pets, once they’ve been introduced into your home.

Did you also clean your house, and check around your yard to make sure there weren’t any dead “hosts” lying around?

My dog got fleas just once - when she caught a rabbit in the snow. Apparently fleas like to hang out on burrowing animals in the winter.

As soon as I realized she had fleas, I had to lock her in her cage (until we could get to the vet), wash all of my bedding, vacuum the carpets and vacuum the upholstery. Then when she was all flea-free, I washed all of her beds (including the one in the cage) in very hot water.

No more fleas since then.

A few observations. What has been said so far is correct. Promeris is a fairly new product that works well, but your dog reeks of eucalyptus for 24 hours. I have success with Advantage and Frontline alternated every 3 weeks. So do my employees. There are 4 dogs (my one and 3 others) that spend their days at my practice. I provide flea control as an employee benefit, and have never seen fleas on any of the dogs here, despite a tremendous exposure.

As to why certain years seem worse, environmental factors vary. There are years where microclimate has a huge effect. I’ll see people from one neighborhood battling horrible flea infestations, while people ten miles away have not seen a single flea.

This year I have zero fleas. Last year it was war.
Last year I bathed them once a month just before I used Frontline. This year is no problem.

As a pet owner that bathe my dogs at least twice a week (with mild baby shampoo which was approved by my vet) I was under the impression that front line will not wash away as it seeps into the oil on the skin. I can’t see how baths should make a difference…flea baths or not.

A dog can reek of worse things, including itself. :dubious:

I have been told that is too often. Something about the washing off of protective oils.

Yes which is why I put the baby shampoo and the vet approval in my post. Since the dogs are both over two and have been bathed that way their entire lives with no flakey skin, no scratching or problems, I’d say the mild shampoo is what makes the difference. I wouldn’t think flea shampoo that often would be a good idea due to its harshness (well and poison I would assume)

Maybe it is me. I really hate the eucalyptus smell, which is there to mask the horrible odor of amitraz, one of the active ingredients.

BTW, flea shampoos do not offer residual flea control. There are better options.

And flea collars? Don’t get me started. The original idea was to place a toxin around the dog’s neck so that fleas could not traverse from the animal’s eyes to its ass. Yes, at the time flea collars were thought up, people theorized that fleas drank tears and ate fecal matter.

Not as much as Advantage/Advantix, and it depends on the type of shampoo (from what I remember the dermatologist saying at rounds). And if the vet approves of the shampoo it uses, ok then, it may be that that product does not cause many problems with Frontline.

But I’ve heard clients talk about how they are battling fleas by giving the animals constant flea baths, then using the expensive vet-given products and complaining when they don’t work. Really, if you (general, not Foxy) want the long term stuff to work well, you cannot keep giving flea dips on a weekly basis.

Promeris also has the slight risk of causing amitraz toxicity, if slightly overdosed (other products tend to be a bit more forgiving).

When I mentioned this to the Fort Dodge rep, she got very defensive. Ingestion should be avoided. Do you remember the amitraze tick collars (Preventic was the brand name in the US)? They worked great at preventing ticks, but if ingested they were highly toxic.

Another comment on Advantix: it is very toxic to cats. I have seen several cats that had incidental contact with a treated dog in the household, and have been very ill as a consequence.

Also, despite all the dangers of flea treatment, the risks still are greater in allowing an animal to be flea infested. I have seen significant anemias due to flea infestations, and have seen puppies/kittens die due to exsanquination. Plus, they are gross.:smiley:

Nope, I’m too young to remember those. :wink: The Promeris side effect IS listed on their insert, though… how defensive can she get? OTOH, the effects I saw while on shadowing were pretty mild. The owners had given the next size up to a dog that was almost to the limit of her current dose (puppy). They were told not to do that again (stick to the dose, even if close to the upper limit).

I feel really old now!:wink: The worst part (to me) about Promeris is the eucalyptus odor. The day I applied it to my dog, I was driving around with her in the vehicle for as few hours. I wound up with a headache.