THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 518.5 Guest: Stanley A. Cohn, V.M.D. Topic: Fleas - One Part Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is a discussion about fleas and how to get rid of them. My guest is veterinarian Dr. Stanley Cohn from the Old Trail Animal Hospital in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.

NEMA: Dr. Cohn, one of the things that really is taken seriously by people who own pets because they know what it's like to pay the price for having these around is fleas. Talk a little bit about how common this is among pet owners and what can be done about it.

COHN: Fleas and ticks are really external parasites that have been around as long as man has been around and probably certainly much much longer but we weren't here to be annoyed by them. They will bite you and suck blood. They can carry diseases like lymes disease and typhus. They're certainly very irritating and they can cause you to scratch and end up with skin problems and dermatological problems, irritation, hot spots we call them in dogs and cats. There's really no rhyme or reason to tell how bad the infestation is going to be in any one year whether it's a warm year before or a rainy year before. The flea population, the tick population just tends to suddenly appear and you live with it. Recently there have been some really good drugs to cut down the flea population especially. There's a product called Program for dogs and cats that can be given once a month and it's an oral product that is not a toxin. It's nontoxic to the animals so it doesn't matter if it's an old dog or cat or within reason a young dog or cat. Once this medication has been ingested, if a flea should bite the animal and suck up some blood and then reproduce, all of the eggs produced by this flea will be sterile. This is in like a very nice way of slowing down the whole reproductive cycle so in order to give your pet relief, you still have to kill the adult flea but you should be able to avoid the horrendous things that we've all heard about where you walk in your house and the fleas start jumping on you and when you're coming back from your vacation there shouldn't be that kind of problem anymore because you can administer these tablets or this liquid for your cat or your dog very easily and you can control this population. Other than that there are sprays and powders and shampoos, bombs for your house and you should be careful to always make sure that they have insect growth regulators in these products so that even if your pets are not on this product called Program, the insect growth regulator will kill the eggs or be present when the eggs hatch out.