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Ask the Doctor June 2017 Issue

Dear Doctor: The Best Flea/Tick Prevention

Cat outdoors

© Lee Serenethos | Dreamstime.com

If your cat loves the outdoors and you want to provide it to her even in limited doses, you still need to discuss parasite prevention with your veterinarian.

Q I have tried to do research on the best flea/tick preventative for my cat, Taylor, but the information has left me a little confused about what would be best for our particular situation.

Taylor is an indoor-only cat with strictly-supervised short outdoor excursions during the late spring/summer months. We live in upstate New York, so he is quite happy to stay inside all winter! We live with a second cat who shows absolutely no interest in going outside, so Zoe is not the focus of this letter (although maybe she needs protection too, because of Taylor?).

I have heard the Seresto® collar offers great protection, but it is pricey and we don’t need eight-month-long protection. What are your thoughts on how to best keep him flea- and tick-free without going overboard?

Thanks for your suggestions!

Ellen Williamson

A Dear Ellen: There are only a few good options to control both fleas and ticks on cats. These are available in either a collar or topical form.

Seresto® is a new product worn as a collar, very safe and very effective. If your pet doesn’t mind wearing a collar, I highly recommend this product. The cost is the same or less than buying a box of another product and it lasts the entire season.

Regarding topical products, many effectively kill fleas but few are also good at preventing ticks. Of the currently available topical products, I believe only Bravecto® topical for cats adequately controls both fleas and ticks. I’ve been disappointed with results using other products.

An interesting question is the matter of Zoe. If she does not have fleas now, and Taylor is completely protected, then Zoe does not need any prevention. However, if fleas are in your house (from last year?) then you will need to treat Taylor to eliminate fleas from the environment. Again, I recommend a Seresto® collar. Once fleas are eliminated from your house, Zoe would not need further treatment.

Michael Stone DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)

Clinical Assistant Professor Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

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