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Monday, March 23, 2009

Wet Winter Means Summer of Fleas and Ticks

This year's wet winter means pet owners should be prepared for a heavy dose of fleas and ticks this summer. Consumers have many choices to help control pesky fleas and ticks. With it, however, comes a degree of uncertainty as to which is the best product or application to use.

Bio SpotĀ® Flea and Tick Control from Farnam Pet Products, the leading over-the-counter spot-on flea product, kills flea eggs and prevents them from developing into biting, breeding adults for up to four months. Bio Spot also kills and repels adult fleas, mosquitoes and ticks including Deer Ticks, which may transmit Lyme disease.

The fast-acting adulticide in Bio Spot erases 92 percent of adult fleas on your dog within 24 hours to bring fast relief, and goes on to kill and repel ticks and mosquitoes.

Specially formulated for the cat's more sensitive system, Bio SpotĀ® Stripe-On Flea Control for Cats contains an IGR that wipes out flea eggs and larvae for up to four months. In addition, a flea-repellent towelette that kills fleas, ticks and mosquitoes is included for convenient use.

The best defense against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes is a combination of an insect growth regulator (IGR) and an adulticide. IGRs mimic a natural insect hormone, preventing normal flea metamorphosis. Flea eggs and larvae either die, molt into deformed adults that cannot feed or reproduce or never molt into adults.

The insect's life cycle is ended before it becomes a biting, breeding, egg-laying adult, which is important because more than 95 percent of the flea population is pre-adult. Adulticides kill adult fleas. Adult fleas have an outer shell that is nearly crushproof and covered with spikes, which helps them stick in fur. After about a day of feeding, the female flea begins laying eggs at a rate of up to 25 to 40 a day. With both an IGR and adulticide, the pet receives the best treatment, regardless of the flea stage.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Litterpan Problems in Cats

Litterpan problems are very common in cats. It helps to think about this problem from the cat's point of view sometimes when trying to deal with it. Cats like to have a clean, inviting place to defecate and urinate. It is very important to make the litterbox as attractive as possible for use.

Pictured to the right is the Kitty Kabana which gives your cat sufficient privacy.

Keep the litterbox very clean. Use a litter that the cat likes. The clumping type litters are the most commonly preferred litters in surveys of cat preference. If you are not using this type and your cat has a problem, it can help to switch.

The litterpan should be in a convenient, but private or at least semi-private site.

It helps very much to have one more litterpan than you have cats. In multicat households where this is impractical, it can help to give the problem cat access to the litterpan, alone, for several minutes twice a day.

When a cat is using a place in the house other than the litterpan to urinate or defecate, the opposite is also true. You want to make these spots unattractive. Cleaning the area with an enzymatic cleaner so the cat is not drawn back to the same site helps. Putting plastic or aluminum foil over the area, if possible, can be very helpful. Putting the litterpan at the site the cat prefers, then very gradually moving it to a site you like can be helpful.

Some cats are not using the litterpan because they are marking territory. This can occur in either male or female cats. It is more common in cats in multi-cat households, especially if there are five or more cats. It can occur when an inside cat is bothered by frequent appearances of an outside cat at the windows. In this case, limiting access to seeing the other cat can help. If a cat is not neutered, this should be done first.

Neutering is often helpful, even after urine marking (spraying) behavior is established. Currently, it is estimated that 80 to 90% of cats will stop urine marking within a couple of months after neutering. When neutering alone does not work, urine marking behavior is often responsive to medical therapy with medications like diazepam (Valium) or buspirone (Buspar).