Not Just a River in Egypt

Spring is on our doorstep here on the Central Coast. That means longer days, more time outside with our pets, and more flea cases at the vet hospital! We see a multitude of skin infections, hair loss, and self mutilation related to fleas. Yet, when we show people the fleas or we discuss flea control, we face our resilient enemy; flea denial! He got that at the groomer! That flea is from your office! My pets don’t have fleas!

Dr. Ryan Ehlinger of Main Street Animal Hospital

I get it. It’s scary to put medication on your pet or in your pet’s body. Putting some diatomaceous earth, garlic powder or tea tree oil on your pet seems so much more organic and safe. Additionally, good flea control is expensive and we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country.

However, if you consider the cost of treating all the flea-related problems, your time to come to the vet, and the health of your pet, it is much simpler to just put them consistently on a proven flea preventative. We will see you less at the vet hospital and your pet will do much better. Unfortunately, here on the Central Coast, this usually means oral medication as the fleas here seem resistant to most of the older topical medications. But, these oral medications very safe and undeniably effective.

I remember several years ago when I was practicing in New England, a gentleman came to see me with his German Shepherd that was covered in fleas and hot spots. I told him we should put his dog on flea control along with the usual medications for the skin infection. He told me he would never use flea control again because it killed his last dog! I asked him what happened. He told me he put topical flea control on his dog and his dog ran away from him and out into the road where he was hit by a car. I advised him that the automobile killed his dog, not the flea control. But, in his mind it was the flea control! More recently, I had a client from Templeton who was convinced I had a trained flea that lived on my shoulder that I called into action when I would evaluate his pets for skin infections. He called him “Ivan” and said that he was my pet flea. He said I train Ivan to help us sell flea prevention.

That one still cracks me up. Flea denial. It ain’t just a river in Egypt!

Dr. Ryan Ehlinger is the owner of the Main Street Small Animal Hospital in Templeton. Visit templetonvet.com for more info.