Tuesday, September 01, 2009

If your dog is on Frontline plus...

It's been bad times in our household lately. We have had - still got in fact - a flea epidemic. As you all know we've got two bichons and every month without fail I dab some Frontline plus on the back of their necks. They also go to the groomer every five weeks to keep them white and beautiful and those two measures alone should have been enough to keep them flea-free.

However there has been something of a flea epidemic in Brittany lately, especially down the canal paths and unfortunately that has been where we've taken them for all their evening walks for the last few months. But the main factor in this situation has got to be the fact that after a while Frontline no longer works on a pet; the fleas build up immunity to the chemicals and attack the dog and its surrounding regardless. You just google 'Frontline no longer works on my dog' and see the number of people saying this.

We had such a shock last week when we saw a number of fleas on the dogs. We went into blitzing mode - we set off anti-flea foggers in the rooms, dismantled beds and sofas and sprayed them all thoroughly, the bedding went to the launderette for a very high temperature wash; there was nowhere that we missed. For a couple of days the dogs looked clear and then there were a couple more fleas on them. Even Mr FF and I got bitten - I had one in my bra and received about ten bites!.

What to do now? Well we are no longer taking the dogs to the canal - their evening walk will be a boring trudge round the streets; we're using a herbal powder containing Neem (used as a bio-pesticide in the third world); today we are going to blitz the house again with chemicals and after that we'll just have to see what happens.

We've also bought a new vacuum cleaner that uses a traditional bag. It turns out that if you use one of the bagless Dyson type machines then the fleas can be stunned when they are picked up and go into a dormant state for a little while, only to march out again when the Dyson is brought out anew. With the new bag vacuum it is also necessary to put a cut- up flea collar in the bag to kill everything off. These fleas wage a real good survival war and you have to be super-vigilant to beat them.

So, if your dog is on Frontline, it would probably be a good idea to check its coat for those telltale black specks along the skin. Chances are that they might just have one or two fleas, which in turn can lay hundreds of eggs able to stay dormant for up to a year.

  • What is the difference between a flea and a wolf?
    One prowls on the hairy and the other howls on the prairie!

  • What to you call a Russian flea?
    A Moscow-ito!

  • What do you get if you cross a rabbit and a flea?
    Bugs Bunny!

  • How do you start an insect race?
    One, two, flea - go!

  • What do you call a cheerful flea?
    A hop-timist!
Ba-boom! Okay, I'll get my canister of chemicals and just leave the post alone

43 comments:

Frankofile said...

eek!

Steve said...

Am now scratching myself furiously! I can remember our cat getting fleas when I was a kid and being horrified at seeing the little buggers crawling through the white fur under his chin...

A Super Dilettante said...

Awww, poor Poppy and Misty!!! How frightful. My grandmother invented the remedy to get rid of dogs' flea (in a country where there is no vet). She used moth balls. She grinded them into powder and put the powder in their coat. I have seen her demonstration of her beloved dogs, golden retrievers, you could even hear the fleas dropping out from the coat to the floor. But the golden retrievers were not amused with the smell of moth balls possibly because it makes them into old ladies.

Ayak said...

Oh poor you FF. I hate fleas. I also use Frontline on my dogs, but it says on the packet and the vet also said that it is only to be used every three months. Apparently this is sufficient. Touch wood it's worked for mine. Beki has been on it for years and has never had a flea. Do you think the frequency of use on yours might have contributed to their immunity? Just a thought.

However, on my next trip to the UK I might well look at alternatives....just in case.

Nora Johnson said...

Eek! Am now scratching myself furiously too! Read that hornets are also causing havoc in some parts of France.Phew! Here in Andalucia, at least it's just mosquitoes that plague us...

My best wishes to you, Poppy & Misty - so uncomfortable for them and a worry for you.

xLola:)

PS don't know if you have any views on "creatively groomed" canines I showed pics of in previous post... For me, they're similar to a freak show! Perhaps though I ought to get out more!

Margarita said...

I remember my old pup had fleas (got them from another dog) and I absolutely freaked, cleaned everything, took him to the vet, oh lordy. I could just imagine the trouble with two. Good luck!

Mark said...

The mothball trick is unlikely to work nowadays as the don't use napthalene- what would work is paradichlorebenzine if you can get hold of it. But your dogs will smell very odd for few days.

Can you remember the old 'Vapona' insect strips - they had camphor in them; if the old type is still available in France that should kill fleas in the house. They are banned in UK now, and Vapona is basically now a citrus based repellant not a killer.

How sad am I and how do I know all this? Nor because our old dog had fleas but because (somewhat ironically) I have a collection of moths that you need to stop other moths /fleas/ beetles from eating. Ha!

Mark

The wife of bold said...

oh no i had been considering getting a dog sometime soon for the kids but i hadn't even thought about fleas argh

Lulu LaBonne said...

EEEEeeew - dearie me, all those bites on your bosom, itchy.

Sympathies

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Some say that Frontline causes cancer.

mrwriteon said...

We used Frontline with our cats and (no plug intended) always found it extremely effective.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh no! La pauvre famille FF! Hope this next blitz takes care of everything and that the new treatment for the bichons works out. How distressing.

Completely Alienne said...

Yuk, you have all my sympathy. We too have a flea invasion, though I have to admit I have been very lax about doing my cats. I found out on the saturday afternoon just before I went on holiday and just after the vets closed so I couldn't get frontline and had to douse them in something lemony from the local petshop as a stopgap. I came back on sunday afternoon and today is a bank holiday! I have hoovered the house more in the last 24 hours than I have in the last 24 months. I will be at the vets when it opens tomorrow and will be stocking up on industrial sized cans of spray for the furniture. Thank god I have wooden floors and that the cats are not allowed upstairs (one of them always pees on my bed if she gets upstairs so they are all banned).

Rob-bear said...

Quelle domage, Julie! Extreme nuisance value. Do they have such things a flea collars in France?

French Fancy said...

Frankie - eek indeed. It has been a terrrible few days

Steve - my flea catching technique is getting better and better. Just as your mum found, white animals are better when you have this problem

ASD - how nice to see you here again :) Yes, the poor dogs. They only have to scratch now and they are picked up and inspected to within an inch of their lives.

Ayak - maybe because we live in such a humid climate here the vet recommended every month. I think the instructions that came with it though said every six weeks - I've never heard of it being three months though. Maybe because it is so hot where you are that the fleas aren't so common

Nora - the flea is fast becoming my least favourite insect - odd in view of my recent post about mozzies

Thanks Margarita and hello. It's been - and still is - awful, I found two more on one of them this morning - and this was after blitzing the house again yesterday.

Mark - I might go and investigate these strips. The thing is that if I put them low enough to attract the fleas it might also attract two curious little dogs.

wife of bold - dogs and kids are so lovely together. Go on - get them a puppy.

Lulu - it was awful, When I hoisted the boob out to see what on earth was going on, the flea jumped out and (still hungry!) gave Mr FF a bite on his arm. Obviously a flea with food issues.

Contem - I've got one perpetual eye on the two dogs these days. At the first sign of an inch they are whisked up for inspection. It is making me very paranoid and edgy. Not to mention tired from all the high-temp washes of bed linen.

CA - we've got wooden and tiled floors but they might be lurking in the corners; that's what the pharmacist told me. Oh and get a bag in the hoover.

Rob - I'm very reluctant to try flea collars but you are the third person to have mentioned it so maybe I should

Dumdad said...

Flee to the hills is the only solution!!

Ann said...

Diatomoceous Earth, it kills everything, it is a natural, fossilized, thingy, just woke up so bear with me please, it works by nature sort of thing, I promise you it does FF, clears the house as well.

Stupid question, sorry, have you wormed the girls recently.

French Fancy said...

Dumdad - groan :)

Ann - I'm off to the vets this morning to get some worming pills. I must google this earth you mentioned. I owe you an email actually - to be remedied later today
x

LadyFi said...

Oh no - poor you and the dogs!

We use Xspot on Oscar to keep the ticks off ... (works for fleas too).

Blu said...

No fleas here but plenty of ticks in the forest. Hope the damn things disparoo soon! Blu x

Jennysmith said...

Great gags! My sweet, i do sympathise. It was like my daughter's nits, they got immune to bloody everything. Was almost tempted to use a blowtorch!

Hope you come through the other side soon xxxx

Carol said...

Awww hon!! That is not good...not good for the poor wee dogs and not good for you and Mr FF!! (or me...I've now got imaginary itches and am squirming in my chair!!)

Hope you win the flea battle

C x

French Fancy said...

Fi - I've got some Stronghold now and we've just put it on them. It will also take care of the worming side of things

Blu - yuck, yes - they are at the canal path as well

Jen - we've done it I think - nothing now for two days - although the chemicals in the air mean that we'll probably have two heads by next week

Carol - I've imagined them crawling over me so much - that has been one of the worst things and it has stopped me sleeping. I sit on the edge of the bed and imagine I see them hopping

Dedene said...

Yuk, what a dilemma. So sorry to hear about the fleas! My dog wears a Frontline collar but for tics. Good luck with the war on those critters.

Brother Tobias said...

We sometimes use 'Advantage' instead of Frontline; it seems pretty good. One wet and very midgey week in the Highlands we did concoct a spoof insect repellant for future visitors. It involved Marmite, cooking oil and wood ash as far as I remember. I hope nobody took it seriously (although Marmite is reputed to work!)

French Fancy said...

Dedene - hope you bit of France does not have our epidemic

BroTob - I'd have to prise the jar away from Mr FF and it might look a bit too obvious on two white dogs :)

Elizabeth said...

Very funny...........
except the flea bit.
I use Frontline on Buster and it still works but he is only 8 months old.
We used Frontline on our cats in Morocco and they were thrilled to bits (hideously expensive there).
New York is having an epidemic of BEDBUGS....
Buster rubbed against a discarded mattress yesterday...................
BUSTER NOOOOOOOOOOO!
Poor you poor dogs

Euri said...

My mom is the Houston Dogs Examiner and wrote about all of the different flea products. She recommends Comfortis. Oh, and she used to live in London!

http://www.examiner.com/x-10613-Houston-Dogs-Examiner~y2009m8d11-Pets-101-Which-flea-product-is-best-for-my-dog

French Fancy said...

E - hello again. All these bugs biting our little furry pets - it's just awful. The bichons are sick of my inspections. I take great pride in tracking the fleas through the dogs' coats and breaking them in half with my (one long - I bite most of them) nail.

Hello Euri - thank you for the info. I've just got some Stronghold for the vet (I've been using shampoo for the last week for a quick death for fleas), but if it doesn't work I'll go with your mum's recommendation

justme said...

Arggh! No useful advice, but MUCH sympathy hun!
Hope it gets sorted soon. xx

Clarity said...

You poor thing, first mossies, then this.

I hope that the chemicals don't make you feel bad. Is there perhaps a vet or a kennel that can clean them up for a few days? That way you have time to disinfect the house without the chance of recontamination?

Would love to hear you read Byron :)

French Fancy said...

justme- hello there and thank you

clarity - last night I was lying in bed convinced that fleas were eating me alive. I swear I could feel each bite - when I woke there was not a mark to be seen (although I have had two bites over the last week - one on my ankle and one on my writs). Yes- your blog friends is a fleabag!

The dogs have had just the odd one on them now - at the first scratch I scoop them up and give them the once over - I've got a very good flea- finding technique.

Ann said...

FF, you are braver than me, I could not scoop a flea up, I would have to shout Mr Ann, or phone the police, red cross, get a neighbout, phone a friend, if that failed, I would shut the dog in the room, and run away screaming.

Hope this lot works.

French Fancy said...

Ann - even if it is blowing my own trumpet I've got to say that I'm very good. I see the direction the flea is scuttling in when I part the hair and I get my fingers ahead of the flea; squash it slightly to stun it (although their hard shell means you have to sort of wiggle when you squash) and then I stick my fingernail into out and it gets caught on it. I have a soaking wet tissue beside me and I smother my nail in it and see the flea wriggling through the damp paper layers. Then I rush to the loo and begin the flush before I toss away the tissue - once I didn't flush first and the little bugger jumped out of the toilet! - yes, that is how high they can jump

Ann said...

Oh FF, I am sitting here, hands over mouth, knees stuck together, toes curled, trying to hide my eyes, thinking oh no FF, not your nails, (I mean how could I let one of them near my green nails ha!), then the hard shell bit, then running to the toilet to flush, I am nearly comatose reading this.

You wont do this when I come over, will you, because I will show myself up with girlie screaming.

Oh jeez FF, you are very brave girl.

Telling my knees to stop squashing each other, but they wont, nor will toes uncurl, going to take the boys a long walk round the field, and if one of those things with a crust, shell or whatever comes near me, I will jump over our six foot high fence, and run down the lane, though a bit worried about that, you said they could jump.

French Fancy said...

Chortling out loud at your response. It's funny really that I am so 'bold' with these fleas but they make me so cross at upsetting the dogs. I hate to see them uncomfortable and can't wait to despatch the little buggers. The worst thing is when I can't find them after seeing Mist or Pop give a little scratch; I then sit there staring at the dog waiting, just waiting for the next scratch. Sometimes I wonder if I've trained the girls to do it because they enjoy all the excitement of being rushed to stand on the table and scrutinised so carefully

(not to mention the treat they get afterwards)

My nails are awful to be honest - I bite some of them, the rest split and I only ever have one or two decent ones. I wish I had long green nails like you - talking of green, the weather will soon be perfect for your new boots.

French Fancy said...

p.s. I've ordered a new pair of Rocket dogs today. So glad that Amazon UK are now sending shoes and boots to Europe.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I think we use Frontline on our dog occasionally. It doesn't seem to be an issue up here.

Egypt was different though. Frontline everywhere. That was just us! (I jest. I really can't remember...must ask Mr.H. what he is doing.) We had three dogs brought over from Egypt (via Holland and France...kennels in Moissac). Sadly only one now survives. He is adorable and I now understand why people will go lengths to clone their animals. I want to clone Ed. (That's the name of our dog that is!)

French Fancy said...

Hadriana - so glad you've not got a problem with fleas where you are. I'm kicking myself for not having spotted it before now but I just assumed their Frontline was working. I'll never be complacent again

Cynthia said...

I guess it's a good thing that I don't apply Frontline on schedule! I haven't have trouble in the last couple of years but ticks are the problem here in Puerto Rico. (and fire ants) Here's hoping that all of your fleas flee-"hop-timist" and all! <3

French Fancy said...

Cynthia - fire ants! just typing it is scary. I'm going off to google and then i will just be very glad no doubt that I don't live in PR

Phil Lowe said...

Itch, itch! I got bit to death from fleas that had resided on next door's cats about this time last year. They itched like f*ck and I still have some scars where I tore at them. Once I realised what was happening I went to town with a fierce anti-fleas spray and practically took the house apart. I also politely told my neighbour who them de-flead the little feline darlings.Are dog fleas worse than cat fleas or the same thang?

French Fancy said...

I don't know which are worse but I do know that mine have itched like hell, I've got so many creams (called appaisantes) here that are meant to take the itch away but either I'm immune to them or I just itch more than anyone else in the world.