In dogs, the two major tick species in South Africa are 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 options. When making a selection, it is important to take the following into consideration:
- Efficacy and mode of action
- Safety (for the indicated species and for other in-contact species)
- Efficiency duration and frequency of application
- Mode of application (and the ease thereof)
- Target parasites (ticks vs. fleas)
- The amount and 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 and 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 work as contact insecticide / acaricide and last for up to eight months. They are available for cats and dogs and are 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 defence against ticks and fleas is in tablet form. This means no more worrying about your dog not liking the smell of the top spots or not sitting still, and bathing and swimming constraints. Tablets can be tricky to give to certain dogs, though. Elanco’s Comfortis is a monthly tablet and works well 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, which kills ticks and fleas and lasts for a month. To date, all the oral tick 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 and flea treatment products.