Q: In Southern California, when are ticks mostly likely to affect dogs, and what are effective flea and tick products?
A: In SoCal, tick prevalence peaks in the winter during the rainy season. Dogs will usually pick up ticks during hikes into brush and wooded areas.
At present, the most effective flea and tick products contain the class of drugs known as Isoxazolines. They are very effective against flea and ticks. They have no repellent effect and require the parasite to bite the pet before they are eliminated. They also kill mites that commonly affect dogs, including demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange, cheyletiella, and ear mites.
Mammals have a much lower sensitivity to Isoxazolines. Therefore, this drug is considered safe for dogs and cats. There are topical as well as oral preparations. The most common side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and lethargy. In 2018, The FDA issued a warning that in rare circumstances tremors, ataxia, and seizures can occur. However, the FDA still classifies this drug as safe and effective.
Examples of products that contain this class of medication include Bravecto, Nexgard, Credelio, Revolution Plus, and Simparica.
Paws and Claws Column:
By Dr. Frank Lavac
MS, DVM, VCA
He can be reached at his office at VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital, 310-828-4587.