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Guide: Spot-on Treatment

 09/21/2018

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I often get faced with remarks from pet owners that the spot on applications don’t work or “My pet is always running away or fighting me when trying to apply”.  Let me shed some light on these topical spot-on products and how best to use them.

When applied correctly, spot-on treatments provide protection from ticks, fleas or both for a month.  It is best to apply the spot-on at least three days after bathing. 

Application

  • Ensure your pet is calm and not trying to fight you.  If the experience is a positive one it will make your life easier in the future.
  • Carefully part the hairs at the back of the neck and apply the spot-on directly to the skin.  It may be easier if someone holds your pet while you apply the spot on, especially with cats or high-energy pets that don’t sit, or stand, still.
  • Large pets require a larger dose of spot-on. It helps to apply the drops in different areas at the back of the neck to ensure better absorption.
  • Don’t bath your pet for 2-3 days after application to allow proper absorption.

How do spot-on treatments work?

After the spot-on has been applied to your pet the solution is absorbed into the pet’s circulatory system.  When the parasite bites your pet the solution is absorbed and it kills the parasite.  The solution contains a pesticide however, if you use the correct size/dose, it is not harmful to your pet.  The different topical products have different methods of working on the parasites: some prevent flea eggs from hatching, some prevent further development of the parasite and others repel the parasites.

Are there any side effects?

Spot-on treatments have a wide safety margin and there has been significant research in the development of the products, including safety.  Caution should be used, however, when applying as some pets may not react well to the solution. This is rare but few cases do exist.  Some pets become hypersensitive and the topical solution stings the skin and can cause a local skin infection (dermatitis) at the application site.  If this happens, the solution must be washed off right away.  If your pet has responded badly it doesn’t mean that he/she will respond badly to all topical products, it may be the active ingredient in that specific product.  It is best to then consult your veterinarian when choosing the correct product for your pet.

Please ensure that you have weighed your pet correctly and use the correct size spot-on for your pet, this prevents overdosing, which may lead to side effects, and under-dosing, which won’t allow effective control of the parasites.

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