Flea Preventative Medications: Oral vs. Topical

Fleas are not only a source of irritation and frustration, but they also pose a serious health threat to animals. These tiny external parasites can carry a variety of diseases, including bubonic plague, and severe infestations may cause deadly levels of blood loss in very small or young pets, according to national animal welfare organizations. Owners must therefore employ every preventative measure to keep these creatures off of their beloved pets, including the use of topical or oral medications.

The first line of defense is prevention. Prevention can be as simple as removing fleas and their eggs from your household by cleaning, vacuuming, and applying pet-safe pesticides to the yard. Keeping your grass mowed and removing excess sources of shade can rob fleas of their preferred environmental conditions, discouraging them from breeding in the yard. But no matter how scrupulously you keep your indoor and outdoor environments under control, at some point your pet is likely to need some form of flea treatment. These treatments may take topical ("spot-on") or oral forms.

Topical Medications

Topical or "spot-on" flea treatments are readily accessible to pet owners. These products can be highly effective at eliminating flea infestations or preventing new ones from occurring. Veterinary organizations point out, however, that while approved flea preventatives are generally considered safe, owners must follow the instructions on the label with great care to prevent a possible toxic or otherwise adverse reaction to the chemicals in the product. Animal welfare organizations also warn owners never to give cat flea treatments to their dogs or vice versa, because the results could prove fatal.

Oral Medications

Oral flea medications also have their pros and cons. In addition to topical treatments widely available, veterinary clinics also prescribe oral products such as Comfortis. Typically, regular monthly doses of such drugs aim to kill fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs, stopping infestations before they start. You may find that the oral delivery method creates less of a mess than the topical route, while also eliminating concerns over skin reactions to the active ingredients. But oral medications may also cost more than topical treatments, and prescriptions will need to be refilled regularly to maintain constant protection.

Sources:

AVMA, “Flea and Tick Treatments: EPA’s Investigation of Spot-On.”

Comfortis, “Controlling Fleas in Your Home.”

Cruz, Bernadine, DVM; Mesenhowski, Shannon, DVM, “Save Use of Flea and Tick Preventative Products.” AVMA, Dec 2012.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I began working for Dr. Kaiser at the Animal Clinic of Mandarin over 3 years ago. I decided
    to get a new Lab mix puppy and made the decision to enroll Zuri in Trupanion. I made this
    decision after hearing other employees and Dr. Kaiser talking about how great it has been for
    their own pets and our clients.
    Within the first 6 months my puppy Zuri’s knee kept coming out of place and she would stiffen
    up and could only walk on 3 legs. She had to have surgery and between working with Dr. Kaiser
    and the specialist I couldn’t have been happier that I was able to take care of Zuri and give her
    the treatment that was needed at such a young age. I now have no worries as she grows older
    that I won’t be able to take care of her financially. I recently added a new 1 year old rescue Great
    Dane, Zane to our family. He also has Trupanion because I can’t imagine the cost if something
    happens to him being such a large dog."
    Melissa P.
  • "Dr. Kaiser and staff are awesome. Great customer service. They deal with the pet insurance company directly for you so you don't have to pay what is covered directly out of pocket. They have gone above and beyond to help our fur baby. Super clean! We love to see Harry (the beautiful St. Bernard) growing up as well!"
    Nicole P.
  • "I called and was able to get an appt the same day. The office was very clean and customer service was very exceptional. Dr. Kaiser took her time to go explain everything and get a thorough history. Sick call exam and consultation came up to $51.75. She also offered a deal on pet insurance. Overall we had a very good experience."
    Charlene H.