Sunday, 23 October 2016

A phrase I hear all to often "I have a flea problem in the house"

Another phrase I hear in practice on a weekly if not a daily basis is:

"Yeah we've bought those products from the supermarket, spent loads of money but we still seem to be getting bitten by fleas"

Image result for creepy eyes

My favourite come back to this is; "Was one of those products a.....bomb?"

To which they look at me like I'm some creepy psychic, and reply yes how did you know?

Now I'm not sure if this year is any worse than ones gone, but I do seem to be getting a lot of clients in with household flea infestations. Be it from the kids accidentally allowing the indoor kitties to escape and bring back fleas. Or the comment above being, we've been buying products from the pet shop but they're just not working. There does seem to be an increase in the amount this year, or I'm just having memory issues and this does in fact happen every year.

Now within the industry it's very commonly known that old flea products like 'Frontline' are not only becoming outdated but fleas are also becoming resistant to the active ingredient - Fipronil. It's legal drug category is NFA-VPS that basically means:

  • Non-Food Animal – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person.

Now really that should be everything you need to know, but I'll explain. Just like when you buy human medicine, animal medicines have legal drug categories. These categories are all to do with the strength of the drugs, how safe they are, who can prescribe them, the levels of tests that have been done on a drug to gain licences. So an NFA-VPS is a lower category than other drugs, meaning Frontline has a lower strength than other drugs, and your local pharmacist (who may not have a very wide knowledge of your pets issues) can prescribe these.

Re the other product I mentioned...the Bomb. I really have to bite my tongue here and try to stay polite. Basically these bombs are released into your home and supposedly are meant to kill household infestations of fleas.....supposedly. These things don't carry any legal drug category. Which basically means you can walk into a shop purchase it and receive no advice on how to use it or whether it even works. In my experience they don't, but go figure, if a drug doesn't even have to gain a license to prove it's probably not going to is it. I'm sure there's someone out there that's had success.....right?

Anyways back to my point and the reason for this post. Although many Joe blogs of the public believe that their veterinarian is trying to just make a fast buck or sell the most expensive product this really isn't the case. The highest drug category i.e. The one that has the strongest strength and passed the most thorough of testing to see if it actually works is;

  • Prescription Only Medicine – Veterinarian (POM-V) 

Now these bad boys can only be prescribed by a practicing Veterinary Surgeon, the best people in my opinion to advise you on what is best for your beloved pet. I mean that's all they do, animals, and they studied for a lot of years (more than a Dr) just so that they can look after your animal. So most practices only stock this category, because basically we know they work better, they have to be able to gain that licence and category. You'll also find most people that work in your local vet practice also have pets of their own, so they've tested these products themselves and are best placed to advise on which ones will actually treat your pet effectively.

Without getting too deep with this post, there are a lot of products on the market, some work better than others. In my opinion stick to a POM-V category, seek your vets/nurses advice. Remember that just like human drugs, you can ask for a written prescription for these products from your vet (there will be a small charge for this) and then with this prescription you can shop around for it perhaps being cheaper elsewhere.

A small side note; to be sold these products at your vets or in fact even to gain a prescription your pet needs to be classed as being under the vets care. To fulfil this requirement your pet has to be registered at a vets and seen a vet within the last 6 months. Just worth noting, this may answer a question lots of people have as to why they can only have enough drugs to last a 6 month period.

Back to flea infestations because I could go on about drug categories all day. Get a good flea product for your pet, also purchase a wormer (because the flea and worm life cycle interact), treat your house with a household flea spray. Hoover your house thoroughly and wash anything your comes into contact with on a high heat (within reason, I do understand that your sofa will not fit in the washer hehe). Doing all of this should mean you break the flea life cycle and if properly maintained you will no longer have an infestation. Don't bother wasting your money on inferior products, you'll just spend more in the long run when you have to start over - oh and flea bites can get annoying so hurry up and treat your pets.

If you really want to know more about drug categories, or just have some bedtime reading then check this out:

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