Flea and tick preventives

Flea and tick preventives

Stress the importance of year-round protection.
Jan 01, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Q Many of our clients are declining flea and tick preventives, especially during the winter months, because they're cutting back on expenses. What can we do?

Debbie Young
"Just yesterday a client complained that her cat had fleas," says Debbie Young, hospital manager of All Pets Veterinary Clinic in Macomb, Ill. "The client said that the cat shouldn't need to be on preventives because it's winter."

Clients—especially those located in colder climates or low prevalence areas—are often reluctant to believe that flea and tick prevention is necessary year-round. But the reality that constant and consistent prevention is needed is as plain to see as the fleas on the client's cat. You must educate clients, Young says. Explain that fleas and ticks don't disappear during cold months. If anything, Young says, they may be hanging out even closer to pets.

"Fleas and ticks live in your home during winter months," she says. As in any season, they can enter your home in many ways—through screens, on your shoes, or on other animals and people visiting your home. "If you don't use preventive year-round, fleas and ticks can infest your pet." And some pet owners already have flea infestations in their homes that can worsen without continued treatment.

If the lack of compliance is a money issue, Young suggests talking to clients about the cost of treatment versus prevention. Compared to the sum spent on special shampoos, medications, and an exterminator for their infested houses, clients will find a year's supply of preventive much more affordable. "Don't forget to point out any discounts clients could receive for buying in bulk," Young says.