Making safe choices with Flea Treatment

Choosing the right flea and tick treatment can be a confusing task. With a choice of sprays, collars, tablets, spot ons, mousses and shampoos all offered from a variety of locations, it is easy to worry that you are not choosing the best product for your beloved pet.

The problems with Permetherin Spot On flea treatment

It is important to note that while there are a wide range of insecticidal spot on treatments available for cats and dogs on the market they do not all work in the same way.  The most commonly used spot-on treatments often contain fipronil, which is safe for use in dogs and cats and is effective against ticks and fleas with rapid action. Permetherin is also a popular fast acting insecticide effective against ticks and fleas with one major difference – PERMETHERIN IS TOXIC TO CATS WHEN DIRECTLY APPLIED!!!

Many flea spot on treatments available from supermarkets and pet stores offer permetherin products with little or not warning on the danger of using these products on cats. While it is important to ensure you buy the correct spot on treatment for the species and size of your pet, this is even more vital when you have a mixed species household and extra care needs to be taken to ensure the correct product is administered as many spot-on pipettes look the same out of their packaging. Permetherin causes problems when applied directly, but also cats can be at risk when other pets have been treated with permetherin spot on through secondary exposure.

It is worth noting, however, that many hosuehold sprays contain permetherin as it offers a repellent action to remove fleas from an environment. As long as pets are removed from the area being sprayed for at least 30 minutes after application to the household there should be no adverse effects due to the very low level of product remaining.

In a study from data collected from the Veterinary Poisons Information Services (VPIS) database, 1306 cases of permetherin exposure had been reported between 1988 – 2006. Of these, 286 cases had follow up data in cats which gives us clear indication of the issues using Permetherin products on cats. 96.7% of cats developed clinical effects – with 87.8% developing twitching and convulsions. Most upsetting of all is that over 10% of the cats from this group died either directly from the application of the product or from being put to sleep as a result of reactions to the spot on.

The Dangers of Online

There are well publicised risks with purchasing prescription medicines online in human pharmacy due to the dangers of being sold counterfiet products that do not actually contain what they are supposed to. The same dangers are present for animal medicines even for products that don’t require a prescription. While there are many reputable websites selling veterinary products there are still plenty of sites selling fake products that may have no effect or may even cause serious harm to your pet.

If you find a product online cheaper than your vet take the time to speak to your vet and they will be able to advise on any dangers of buying online. Remember your vet has your pet’s best interests in mind and is able to advise the best treatment for your pet without the need for self-diagnosis and potentially risky online purchases. Your vet is also able to assist with administering products if you have trouble.

Benefiting from a Complete Treatment Program

Spot on treatments are incredibly popular to ensure any fleas, and often ticks are killed and re-infestation is prevented for a month or more. It is worth remembering however, that the fleas you see on your pet only make up around 5% of the total flea infestation. The other 95% is made up of eggs, larvae and pupae found within the home environment – within bedding, carpets, furniture, skirting boards, cupboards…Household sprays are great to use alongside your regular spot on treatment to provide an easy way to help break the flea life cycle and protect your home against fleas.

This is especially important for dogs and cats who suffer from flea allergic dermatitis (FAD), who can show severe signs  of irritation at the presence of just a single flea.

Owners must ensure a trustworthy household product is used to provide a safe and efficacious treatment for their home. Care is needed when using these products and instructions must be followed carefully as they can be toxic to some pets, such as birds or fish. All animals should therefore be removed from the sprayed area and fish bowls completely covered for at least 30 minutes following application.

Contact us on 01670 457271 to speak to us about options available for flea and tick treatment for your dog or cat.


Umbilical Hernias

All the nutrients a puppy gets when inside its mother come from the placenta.  This placenta connects the mothers blood to the puppies blood to allow nutrients for growth and development of the puppy.  The placenta attaches to the puppies belly.  As the abdominal wall develops this attachment becomes smaller and smaller until there is just a stalk (the umbilical cord) providing the nutrients from the placenta to the puppy via the belly button.


Shortly after birth the umbilical cord shrivels up and the small abdominal defect closes over.  Failure of this abdominal wall closure is known as an umbilical hernia and it usually becomes apparent that this closure has failed by about 5 weeks of age.


As the puppy grows and the pressure inside the abdomen increases, parts of the abdomen can be forced out of this small hole. Usually this is just fat if the hole is quite small.  If the hole is bigger then larger abdominal contents can be pushed through this hole, such as the intestines.  If this happens then they can become constricted, preventing normal movement of food and could cause a life threatening problem that requires immediate surgery.


Umbilical hernias are usually congenital, caused by flawed development of the puppy when inside the mother.  As the final hole closes over a few days after birth, it is very rare for the hernia to be due to “its mum bit the umbilical cord too short” as most breeders will suggest.   It has generally been accepted that an umbilical hernia is a hereditary problem that is passed down from parents to puppies.  This form of inheritance has been proven in collies, cocker spaniels, bull terriers, airdale terriers, basenji and Pekingese.  It is likely that other breeds will pass on this trait in a similar way, it just may not have been investigated properly to prove it scientifically in other breeds.


As an umbilical hernia is a congenital defect due to a problem with development in the mothers uterus, a lot of animals have more than one defect (although not all can be detected at a young age on routine clinical examination by a vet – some become apparent later in life).   Although the hernia is not usually a life threatening condition, heart defects can become life threatening as a puppy gets older. Many male dogs with umbilical hernias also have retained testicles.


If you are looking to buy a puppy, have a feel of its belly and if you can feel a small lump there, it is probably an umbilical hernia and it is best not buying a puppy with this condition, especially if you intend to breed.


As the umbilical hernia has the potential to cause life threatening problems and also predisposes to other life threatening defects and is passed on to offspring, at St Clair Veterinary Care we recommend neutering all animals with an umbilical hernia, the hernia can then be repaired at the time of neutering.


Show your loved one you care this Valentine’s Day. We are offering a FREE heart check and 20% of any investigations if required until the end of February.

Have you noticed any of the following:

  • Exercise intolerance /weakness
  • Lethargy Coughing (sometimes retching)
  • Weight loss
  • Inappetence
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting Enlarged abdomen
  • Difficulty sleeping at night


All of the above could be signs of heart disease and should be checked out.


If you’d like to book in please call 01670 457271