Mount Vernon Animal Hospital

We're passionate about caring for your pet!

Spring is here - and so are the fleas & ticks!     

There are more choices in flea and tick preventative than ever. It can be confusing, figuring out which is best for your pet. Here are our guidelines:


If your pet goes outdoors, you should consider using flea and tick preventative during the temperate months of the year. Temperatures above 50 degrees will usually allow fleas and ticks to re-emerge. However, fleas can live inside year-around, so if you had a bad infestation over the summer, continuing treatment all year is not a bad idea. Here is a summary of the current flea and tick products available.


Flea collars: Seresto collars are the only flea/tick collars we recommend. They work for 8 months and do an excellent job. The collar must be in close contact with the skin to transfer repellent to the skin. This product works like a spot-on, but instead of putting a larger amount of product on once a month, it releases a tiny bit every day. The repellent stays on the skin and does not get absorbed into the bloodstream. This is probably the most successful product, especially for ticks. It's a great value, too.


Spot-on products: include Frontline Gold,  Advantage/Advantix, and numerous store brands. These work by applying a tube of repellent to the skin once a month. They require the oils on the skin to slide, and will cover your pet from nose to tail, so don't bathe your pet for 2 days before to 2 days after application.  Most are water-proof, but will wash off if you use a medicated type shampoo. We carry Frontline Gold, which is approved for pets over 8 weeks of age. These vary in efficacy, depending on how bad the flea/tick infestation is. If you are using one of these and still have problems with fleas or ticks, contact us and we'll help you put together an overall flea/tick protocol.


Oral, one time flea killers: Capstar is often used by shelters or rescues, it only kills the adult fleas on the pet at the moment. Not a long-term solution, but if you're bringing in a new pet that has a ton of fleas, it can be very effective.


Oral monthly or quarterly products: PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE FDA HAS ISSUED WARNINGS ABOUT SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR ORAL FLEA AND TICK PRODUCTS FOR SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDING ATAXIA, TREMORS AND SEIZURES! See the warning here. Nexgard, Bravecto, Simparica, and possibly Credelio are implicated. 


Others in this category include Sentinel, which is heartworm preventative plus flea "birth control". It does not kill adult fleas, but prevents them from reproducing. It has no effect on ticks at all. 


We do not recommend these products because of their safety, the exposure of your pet to unnecessary chemicals in their bloodstream, and the fleas and ticks still bite, so the potential for transmission of disease is still there. 


We're happy to help you figure out which flea and tick product is best for your pet's particular lifestyle. Stop in or give us a call. We're here to help!