Tampa, Florida is known for many things including beautiful beaches and an amazing night life, but it’s also known as the flea capital of the United States. Some experts believe that in places like this, some over-the-counter flea and tick medications aren’t as effective as they used to be.
Dr. Denise Genix is a veterinarian at South Tampa Veterinary Clinic, and she believes the reason is that parasites have become tolerant of some of the common chemicals that are used to kill them. Since more consumers purchase over-the-counter treatments, the parasites are exposed to those chemicals the most and therefore become immune to them faster.
When it comes to treatments for the most common parasites like fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms, it seems like there are hundreds of options for dog owners. Uncertainty about which products can be trusted, which ones are safest for dogs, and how these products effect our environment are all factors that can lead to confusion and frustration for pet owners.
There are collars, powders, topical creams and ointments, and ingestible treatments on the market. Dog owners can purchase them in stores, online, or at their veterinary office. Much like anything else, more products are coming on the market every day and the chemicals, treatments, and prices vary so much that it can seem impossible to pick just one.
Dr. Genix recommends speaking with a veterinarian before treating your pet in any way. Many online retailers can misinterpret information and often promote products that haven’t gone through proper safety testing. Internet sites are not patrolled for accuracy as closely as the products on retail store shelves, and some of these parasite treatments could do more harm than good.
Parasites, like many other things, are more common in some parts of the country than others. Also, depending on how much your dog travels and is exposed to other animals, they could be at a higher risk for contracting a parasite.
Dr. Genix says that she recommends ingestible treatments to most of her patients because they are typically more effective, however they can be combined with other medications. She recommends checking with your vet before treating your dog for any parasites. They will know your dog’s history, and the parasites that are common in your area.
She says some medications only treat one kind of parasite while others may treat for fleas, ticks, and heartworms at the same time. It is important to understand what you’re treating your pet for so that you are not giving them medication that they don’t need or giving them too much medication.