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If your Scarsdale pet has fleas, you are not alone. There are more than 2,000 different types of fleas in the world, according to PetMD, and more than 300 species in North America alone.
Fleas and ticks are a nuisance for you and for your pet, but these pests can also spread diseases. Flea and tick treatment help you get rid of these insects before they cause a problem.
There are several stages of the flea and tick lifecycle. Flea and tick treatments target the pests at various stages of their lifecycles.
Fleas lay their eggs on animals, such as raccoons, opossums or other dogs, and these eggs fall off as the animal wanders through your pet’s environment. The eggs then mature into larvae, pupae and, finally, adult fleas that continue the cycle by laying their eggs directly onto your pet.
Ticks lay their eggs in densely wooded areas. The eggs hatch into larvae then turn into nymphs, which require a meal of blood to turn into adult ticks.
Many tick and flea treatments are neuro-toxic insecticides, which mean they target specific neuro-receptors of the nervous systems in adult insects. Insects have large numbers of these neuro-receptors, so they are very sensitive to the toxic effects of the insecticides. Mammals, such as dogs, cats and people, have relatively few of the neuro-receptors, so they are not as sensitive to the effects of the insecticide. This allows the insecticides to paralyze and kill the adult flea or tick but not affect you or your pet. These treatments are effective on adult fleas and ticks only.
Other products prevent flea eggs from growing into larvae. These products, known as insect growth regulators (IGRs), work on flea and tick eggs but have no effect on larva or adult insects.
There are three main treatments for fleas and ticks: topical medications, pills and collars. Medications include shampoos, powders and spot treatments. Shampoos and powders only eliminate adult fleas, so your veterinarian may suggest you combine them with pills or other treatments. Topical spot-on treatments destroy adult fleas, larvae and eggs, along with other parasites.
Flea pills typically target flea adults or eggs, but not both, so your pet may require a combination of flea pills. Currently, no oral medications can destroy adult ticks.
Flea and tick collars can prevent pests from setting up house on your pet. Some collars can treat infestations by releasing chemicals that eliminate pests and their eggs. You may be able to combine a flea or tick collar with other treatments – ask your vet for more information.
If your pet has fleas or ticks, or you would like to learn more about flea and tick treatment, make an appointment with Central Animal Hospital. We serve towns throughout Westchester County, including our Scarsdale, Eastchester, Ardsley, and White Plains neighbors. Make your appointment today by calling our animal hospital at 914-723-1250.