Flea and Tick Prevention - Furry Friend Friday

It's time for Furry Friend Friday, presented by West Coast Animal Hospital.

I'm Alex Steiniger. Fleas and ticks are two of the most common pet care concerns in America. And warm, humid summer weather provides ideal conditions for both pests. Dr. Megan Gibbings, owner of West Coast Animal Hospital is here with some great solutions.

Now that summer's over though, do we still need to worry about flea and tick prevention for our cats and dogs?

Actually, yes. Many pet owners feel that when summer ends, they no longer have to give their cats and dogs flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. But here in San Diego, we have such nice weather, our pets experience problems with these parasites all year round. While the most common thing we see is dermatitis or skin infections and itchiness, these pests also serve as vectors for some pretty serious diseases that can make your pet sick. So at West Coast Animal Hospital, we recommend year-long flea tick and heartworm prevention for cats and dogs.

When it comes to the products that we buy for this, what's the difference between off-the-shelf and ones that we can get from a veterinarian?

The ones that you find over the counter really just aren't that effective, unfortunately. And sometimes, they can actually cause harm if used inappropriately in pets. My favorite product for dogs is one called Simparica TRIO. It's a once-a-month, easy-to-administer chewable pill that provides broad spectrum coverage, protecting against fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal worms. And for cats, I like a product called Revolution Plus, which is applied to their skin once a month. Both of these products and more are available as a prescription from your vet.

What are the long-term side effects, if any, of giving my dog a monthly pill like this?

Really none. There's a lot of misinformation on the internet about these products causing cancer and so forth, and there's no scientific data to prove any of that. These medicines are very safe because they target a specific receptor present only in arthrospores and insects. And I like to think of them as being basically in our pets. So if your pet's not taking a monthly prevention for parasites, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian and find out what they think is the best product for your pet.

Such an important reminder. And you got us right in our soft spot, taking care of our pets because they really do rule the home, don't they? Dr. Gibbings, thanks so much for being with us and let West Coast Animal Hospital take the stress out of going to the vet. All you have to do is call 619-431-1423, or you can visit their website, westcoast.vet, to receive top-quality care for your pets.