Fleas: Fables, facts, and proven solutions (Sponsored by Merial)

Fleas: Fables, facts, and proven solutions (Sponsored by Merial)

A roundtable discussion

Clarify misconceptions.
Understand flea biology.
Lead your practice to confi dently implement clear solutions.


Michael Murray, DVM, DACVIM Merial Limited, Duluth, Ga.

Sam Reichman, DVM Flat Creek Animal Clinic, Fayetteville, Ga.

Michael Dryden, DVM, PhD Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

Michael Canfield, DVM Florida Veterinary Specialists, Animal Hospital of Regency Park, New Port Richey, Fla. Animal Emergency and Referral Center, Fort Pierce, Fla.

Christine Rees, DVM, DACVD San Antonio Veterinary Referral Specialists

Recently, veterinary parasitologist and flea expert, Dr. Michael Dryden, met with a veterinary dermatologist and two progressive practitioners to discuss the concerns and misconceptions that clients, staff, and veterinarians have about flea control—and to come up with clear solutions for the perplexing problems surrounding this issue.

The discussion begins with the misperceptions that lead pet owners to question why they are still seeing fleas on their pets after treatment. But it isn't just clients—team members also may be harboring misinformation and old wives' tales that can easily be passed along to clients. So how do you educate your clients about the true facts surrounding these important parasites?

Once these facts are laid out on the table, the discussion moves to the heart of the matter—the essential facts about flea biology—and finishes with practical, proven solutions to effective flea control.

Client questions and misperceptions

Michael Canfield, DVM
Dr. Michael Murray: What questions do you and your staff hear from clients about flea control products? Do they complain that flea control products seem less effective?

Dr. Sam Reichman: Yes. The first big complaint is that the products are not working anymore. Clients say they applied it a week ago and are already seeing fleas. Secondly, they complain about cost—which becomes an issue when they think the product isn't working.

Dr. Michael Canfield: "Why do I still see fleas?" is a frequent question, and clients automatically blame product failure. It doesn't matter how many fleas are in the house or their yard—they still think the product isn't working adequately.

Murray: What proportion of your clients do these pet owners represent?

Christine Rees, DVM, DACVD
Reichman: It used to be small, but it has increased over the last two years.

Dr. Christine Rees: I've seen more flea-allergic dogs in the last couple years. Some people think the product is not working as well. Or the owner puts the flea control product on and expects the fleas to disappear—instant gratification. It takes time to educate them that one application won't solve the problem.

Dr. Michael Dryden: My experience has been similar to the rest of the panel—the perception that products aren't working like they used to, or clients are complaining that they put the product on and are still seeing fleas. Internet chatter has perpetuated some of this belief that things may be falling apart. I was just in Lincoln, Neb., and practitioners expressed that sentiment—that the products were working fine for them, but rumor has it that it's not working in other places. They want to know how soon it will happen in their area.

Sam Reichman, DVM
Murray: So that may create an expectation in the veterinarian's mind that he or she will be seeing problems eventually, and they may begin to think there is a flea product problem.

Dryden: Without a doubt.

Murray: Pet owners come into the practice and complain that they are still seeing fleas after treating pets. Who do they talk to first about this?