In dogs, the two major tick species in South Africa is the Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) and the Yellow dog tick (Haemaphysalis leachi). The major flea species that we have to deal with is the very common Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). Apart from the Cat flea, domestic felines are also often pestered by the Yellow dog tick.
When it comes to tick and flea treatment and prevention products, there are many, many options out there. When making a selection is important to take the following into consideration:
- Efficacy & mode of action
- Safety (for the indicated species & for other in-contact species)
- Efficiency duration & frequency of application
- Mode of application (& the ease thereof)
- Target parasites (ticks vs. fleas)
- The amount & type of animals to be treated
Ticks and fleas can be treated with any, or a combination of the following methods:
- Collars (Seresto)
- Spot-ons / top spots (Frontline Plus, Advantix)
- Tablets (NexGard & Bravecto)
For the control of ticks AND fleas, we at Vet Hospital Port Shepstone prefer the strategic use of long lasting products such as Frontline Plus, Advantix, NexGard, Bravecto & Seresto.
Collars are an easy way to control ticks and fleas, but apart from the sometimes obvious smell, collars are also risky to use on chewers like puppies and for example Bull Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers, Labradors, etc. Some collars are expensive and are reserved for single or small amount of pets. Bayer’s Seresto collars works as contact insecticide / acaricide and lasts for up to eight months. It is available for cats and dogs and is proven to be safe in kittens older than 10 weeks and puppies older than 7 weeks of age, even if swallowed.
Top spots such as Merial’s Frontline Plus and Bayer’s Advantix will last for a month and will kill ticks and fleas upon a blood meal. Frontline Plus is available for dogs and cats whereas Advantix is a dog only product.
The newest line of defense against ticks and fleas is in tablet form. No more worry about your dog not liking the smell of the top spots or not sitting still and bathing and swimming constrains. Tablets can be tricky to give to certain dogs though. Elanco’s Comfortis is a monthly tablet and works great against fleas (not against ticks). MSD’s Bravecto will kill ticks and fleas and will continue working for three months. The newest product from Merial is NexGard what kills ticks and fleas and lasts for a month. Up to date all the oral ticks and flea treatments in South Africa are only registered to be used in dogs.
For puppies and kittens under 8 weeks of age we recommend Frontline Spray as needed.
Mode of action
With long lasting systemic tick and flea products such as Frontline Plus, NexGard, Comfortis (fleas only) and Bravecto, it must be realised that in order for ticks and fleas to die, they must first suck the blood of the animal. In other words, when using these products, the ticks and fleas that you see on your pet today are not the ones that you will see tomorrow. Those ones are new ones!
Contact tick and flea products such as Frontline Spray, Advantix and Seresto collars kill those parasites whilst climbing on the pet.
Vet Hospital Port Shepstone carries an extensive range of veterinary specific, long lasting tick & flea treatment products.