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Q&A: Make sure your veterinary patients are flea free


Here's how to resist flea resistance.

Q. How should we respond when clients still see fleas after using a product and insist it's not working?

When owners insist they're still seeing fleas after using a preventive product, it's time to investigate, says Ciera Sallese, CVT, a technician at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa.

"Many times a pet owner may have applied the product incorrectly and the answer could be very simple," she says. "We should ask how they applied the product and whether they gave the pet a bath before or after the application."

If you rule out application error, Sallese says next you should ask questions about the pet's environment. Do other pets live in the home and if so, has the product been applied to them as well? Is there a chance there's a flea infestation in the home?

"It's common for pet owners to concentrate on their dogs when they're using preventives and forget to treat their cats as well," Sallese says. "We should always stress the importance of continuous prevention for each pet in the home."

If you live in an area with little to no fleas, your investigation may need to go deeper. For example, Carrie Murry, practice manager at Lone Peak Veterinary Hospital in Draper, Utah, says it's not unusual for people to assume their pets have fleas when they don't. So she'll recommend pet owners bring their pets in for an exam so the veterinarian can identify the problem and offer treatment.

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