Veterinarian - San Diego
1540 Morena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110



By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
April 27, 2012
Category: Pet Care
Tags: Untagged


Fleas are the most common external parasite of companion animals. Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease of dogs and cats! Flea control has always been a challenge for veterinarians and pet owners because the adult fleas cause the clinical signs, yet the majority of the flea population (eggs, larvae, and pupae) is to be found off the pet in and around the home. The ideal flea control program utilizes products that target the various stages of the flea life cycle, not only the adult fleas on the pet.

Heartworm disease is being reported with increased frequency in San Diego County due to the increased number of mosquitoes resulting from the wet weather. Mosquitoes transmit the heartworm larvae, which grow into adult spaghetti-like strands of worms in the heart and surrounding blood vessels; left untreated, this disease causes heart failure and death. The treatment for heart disease is costly and bears some risk-when the adult worms are killed with treatment, the pet may suffer a major stroke, embolism, or other severe side effects, which may also be fatal. The best measure to take is PREVENTION, which consists of giving a monthly application to prevent any larva from developing into adult worms. Prior to starting heartworm preventative, a simple blood test is run to confirm heartworm infestation is not already present.

Our CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS include having your pet on heartworm prevention year round with annual testing, flea control year round, and having a fecal sample checked once a year, or more often if indicated, for intestinal worms.

Our current favorite products include Trifexis, Vectra, and Comfortis:


- Trifexis is a once-monthly tablet for dogs that kills fleas, prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections. And since it's beef-flavored, you can offer it as a treat. 

-This is a topical product that is applied monthly.  It protects your dog against four species of ticks, three species of mosquitoes, and fleas.  It works by killing adult fleas, preventing development of immature flea stages, and repelling ticks and mosquitoes. 

-This is a topical product for cats and kittens that is applied monthly.  It kills all fleas and controls the various flea stages.

- Comfortis provides month-long flea protection for dogs, and is available in a beef-flavored chewable tablet. Comfortis chewable tablets kill fleas and prevent flea reinfestations. It starts to kill fleas within 30 minutes.

Please refer to our pet-care library article, Flea, Heartworm, & Pet Parasites for further information.