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Q:

I was wondering about my dog Bailey; she is a Cavalier cross Bichon and she has been sterilised. Is there a reason why she has fleas when she hasn’t been near a dog for the past month? I give her Sentinel Spectrum for Very Small Dogs up to 5kg.

A:

It is a myth that dogs get fleas from other dogs. What actually happens is that adult fleas that live on dogs (and cats) lay eggs that drop off the pet and into the environment (i.e. into the carpet, floorboards, grass etc.). These eggs live in the environment (i.e. not on the animal) and act as a source of infestation for other dogs. So it appears that your dog is entering into contaminated environments that contain these flea eggs – so the fleas that are infesting your dog are coming from the environment and NOT from other dogs (it is very rare for a flea to jump from one dog to another). Sentinel works by sterilising flea eggs so that they can’t hatch (i.e. Sentinel works like birth control for fleas) and so it cleans the environment. As long as your dog is regularly on Sentinel every month (make sure you give Sentinel with a full meal so that it is properly absorbed) your home environment will be free of flea eggs and your dog will be free of fleas (all dogs in your household should be on Sentinel each month). If you have cats they will also need to be on a suitable flea control product – talk to your vet about available options.

It is important to remember that your dog might be exposed to fleas if it enters other environments (e.g. the dog park, boarding kennel etc.) that are contaminated. If this is the case you may need to occasionally use a product that kills adult fleas such as Capstar. Capstar kills adult fleas very quickly and can be given on any day that you see adult fleas on your dog (you will only need to use Capstar very rarely as long as your dog is on Sentinel every month). You can purchase Capstar from your vet or pet store.

Q:

We have an 11month old cavalier x bichon and are looking to start giving her Sentinel tablets once a month. She is approx 10kg. We have some tablets from our older dog who has passed away – he was 40kg. Can we just give her a smaller dosage, say a quarter of a tablet, or do we need to buy a pack suitable for a dog her size?

A:

The tablets are manufactured with the sole intention of being given whole, so they are not scored to facilitate splitting. We have not evaluated and therefore cannot guarantee the dose of active ingredients contained within pieces that result from splitting the tablets.

It is important that you weigh your cavalier x bichon accurately and dose with a whole chew to match her weight; if she is 10kg she will require Sentinel Green for small dogs.

To ensure you look after her health as well as possible, if she has not been on regular heartworm prevention until now it is important to determine her heartworm status: so she will also require a heartworm test by a veterinarian now, and in six months’ time.

Q:

We had been using the Sentinel Tablets and followed on with the chews, which he still gets once a month. They seemed to control, but not eradicate the fleas.

Our dog always had fleas in varying numbers according to how often we washed him with other treatments and the regular scratching was really annoying me, as much as the fleas were annoying the dog.

Our local Vet suggested that we could try Comfortis. I was sceptical about the claims that the fleas would start dropping off within hours of treatment. It was truly amazing, watching our dog shed his fleas after just the one tablet in 2010. Fleas are now history and we haven’t had a flea since.

For something to be that effective, and for so long, it is probably a high risk chemical.

Can you tell me if there are any known long term effects associated with Comfortis – other than our dog becoming flea free?

 

A:

In order to ask information about adverse effects of long term use of Comfortis you would need to please contact its manufacturer – Elanco.

Comfortis takes up to four hours to kill all the fleas on a dog, and fleas jump on and bite within a minute, so your dog is likely to still be being bitten by fleas emerging from the environment, which are obviously causing irritation; so it is fabulous that you are treating the 95% of the flea lifecycle that exists in the environment (eggs, larvae and pupae) by continuing with Sentinel each month. Make sure you are giving Sentinel with a full meal and that you are using the appropriate dose for your dog.

Lufenuron is the active ingredient in Sentinel Spectrum Tasty Chews that is a flea preventative. It controls flea populations by preventing the development of eggs and larvae, and does not kill adult fleas. It is not an insecticide and not a registered poison. It is extremely safe to use.  It is important that you continue throughout the year with Sentinel without interruption as any flea that bites your dog is rendered infertile. To ensure flea control, all dogs and cats within your household should be given a flea lifecycle treatment. For dogs use Sentinel Spectrum Tasty Chews; for cats use Program Oral Suspension or Program Injectable. Untreated dogs and cats can reduce the overall flea control within a household. Likewise your dog can pick up fleas from another animal such as untreated dogs at the dog park, or wild cats and possums etc that are not treated for fleas that have come into your yard. Rest assured those fleas will not be able to reproduce if they jump onto your dog, as you are a Sentinel user.

If you do notice fleas on your dog that it has picked up from a contaminated environment, you may need to treat them with a product registered for use against adult fleas. Capstar is an oral tablet that works in the same way as Comfortis. It works fast – killing fleas 30 minutes after administration, and for 24 hours thereafter. Capstar can be given orally, with or without food, on any day when fleas are seen on the animal. Capstar is given once per day, is cleared rapidly from the body, and has an extremely high safety margin.

The other great thing about monthly use of Sentinel is you are preventing heartworm and all the concerning intestinal worms of dogs including the potentially worrying hydatid tapeworm.

For further information consult your veterinarian.

Q:

I have a happy 4.5 year old spayed female poodle who is in pretty good condition apart from having bad breath. She has had this all her life, well, at least since she has become an adult (I’ve had her since she was 10 weeks old). Last vet exam identified a rear molar which had a bit of a build up of tartar, so this will need cleaning at some point soon. She has a good diet, drinks plenty of water and is fed once a day. She is not a dog who likes to gnaw bones but she has chew toys and soft squeaky toys she plays with often. Aside from getting in her mouth and actually cleaning her teeth myself which I am not keen to do, what else can I do? What do you think may be the cause?

A:

Bad breath is almost always due to dental disease. It can be due to more serious dental disease or sometimes just due to plaque build- up, which is the first stage of dental problems.

It sounds like, in your case, the first step will be to get the vet to professionally clean the teeth. Like in humans you can’t clean tartar off with a tooth brush; you can only clean off plaque (the soft slimy build-up on teeth). Tartar is the mineralized roughness that can only come off with professional instruments. A professional tooth clean by a vet will also be able to clean out any infection from underneath the gums that may be associated with bad breath. Your vet, during the dental, will fully inspect inside the mouth and apart from cleaning will be able to manage any other potentially serious teeth issues. Young dogs, especially young poodles, may have some teeth that need to come out at this young age. Out of the many teeth dogs have there are only a few that are important and the dog will still be able to eat if some are removed; whereas rotten teeth will poison the blood making your dog sick.

Once the dental has been done you can look at preventative measures which will still involve periodic professional vet cleaning of the teeth. This might need to be done annually or every second – third year depending on the dog and how fast tartar builds up on her teeth. Dogs won’t complain if they have sore gums like we do.

At home brushing is easier than you would think and does not involve opening the dog’s mouth; in fact it is done with the mouth gently held closed. It is a simple process that can be done quite easily to get to the parts you need to reach. Your vet can show you how to brush your dog’s teeth effectively. This is best done daily if possible.

Your dog could be encouraged to chew raw bones but this may not be practical; so try one of the variety of dental chews available like rawhide or greenies, and try certain dry foods. Any dry food is better than wet food which tends to leave a film across the teeth. Some dry food  brands are especially designed to limit the development of dental plaque and tartar and fight bad breath. You could look for something endorsed by the American Veterinary Dental Society.

Q:

I am trying to find the easiest treatment to help with all parasites (worms, fleas, lice, mites, etc) for all of my pets. I have 2 dwarf rabbits, 1 cat, a Malchi, and a Minature Fox Terrier. Apart from the cat, all reside outside. I have used both Revolution and Advocate on the rabbits and cat, but only Advocate and Drontal on the dogs.

A:

Significant research by Novartis Animal Health has gone into developing products which are safe and effective, easy-to-use and offer protection from a range of health issues that could affect your dogs and cat.

Sentinel Spectrum is easy-to-use and the only real beef, all-in-one tasty flea, heartworm, intestinal and hydatid tapeworm treatment for dogs. For fleas, I recommend staying on top of the problem and treating  your dogs monthly all year long. Take a preventative approach with Sentinel Spectrum Tasty Chews that incorporate a highly effective insect growth regulator to tackle the flea life cycle by eliminating immature forms of fleas in the environment.  This helps to minimise the exhausting work of environmental clean up to remove fleas. Sentinel Spectrum Tasty Chews are easy to dose and come with no mess; unlike spot-on treatments which are applied to the back of the neck, may not be waterproof and might be messy and unpleasant to handle. If your dogs do pick up adult fleas from untreated dogs, ask your vet or a pet-store for a fast, short-acting adult flea killing product to eliminate these fleas safely and efficiently from your dog.  It is important however to continue taking a preventative approach to flea lifecycle management even after you kill these adult fleas, by staying on Sentinel to ensure you are also dealing with the ‘unseen’ immature fleas in the environment. Sentinel Spectrum Tasty Chews are an easy to use delicious treat for your dogs.

Fleas are clearly not the only problem for dogs, with experts estimating that at any one time 500,000 dogs in Australia suffer from intestinal worms, which may include the potentially-deadly-to-humans hydatid tapeworm. Roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm, including hydatid tapeworm all pose health risks to humans as well as your dog. Intestinal worms develop in the intestine and may migrate through abdominal organs causing abdominal pain, enlarged livers and have also been known to reach the eyes and brain, especially in young children.  The nastiest worm is the hydatid tapeworm which migrates through the blood stream to organs such as the liver, lungs, kidney or brain where they develop into hydatid cysts which require surgery and/or chemotherapy; and cause organ damage, infection and even death. Again my advice to dog owners is to take a preventative approach and tackle the issue of fleas and worms before they ever become a problem.  By giving your dog a Sentinel Spectrum Tasty Chew once a month, you are not only protecting your dog, you are also protecting your family and home from the threat of fleas and worms. Sentinel is the only combination flea and worm product that treats and therefore prevents  hydatid tapeworm in dogs.

For your cat, you can give program suspension monthly, or have a vet administer a program injection every six months; this product controls the flea life cycle in the same way that Sentinel does in dogs. Also, you can dose your cats three-monthly with Milbemax to treat intestinal parasites, or monthly to prevent heartworm disease.

Unfortunately; neither Sentinel, Program or Milbemax are registered for use in rabbits. Your veterinarian is best to advise you on the best preventative strategies specific for your pet rabbits.

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