We are open M, T, W, F
and 2:30pm-6pm

Thursday & Saturday 8am-noon

Doctor's hours are by appointment.

To make an appointment, please call

1120 Maricopa Hwy.
Ojai, CA 93023


Fleas and Methods of Controlling Them

Our area, although a nice area to live in, has an especially difficult problem with fleas due to our mild winters. While in Southern California, flea season never really ends, Spring is the time when fleas really start to return in full strength to “bug” our pets. It is important to either continue flea control year round, or to at least restart flea control products by March or April if you stopped using them during the winter time. Do not let the fleas get out of hand before your start using the flea products or you can really feel like you are fighting a losing battle in the flea wars.

Control of fleas can be difficult due to two factors:

1. When stressed, fleas produce an enzyme that makes it more difficult for insecticides to kill them.
2. Their life cycle makes it difficult to easily control them.

Life Cycle:

We are not sure which came first, the flea or the egg. We’ll start with the flea. Over the lifetime of the female flea, she can lay several hundred eggs. When the eggs hatch, they produce larvae, which spend their lifetime of one to two weeks on the ground (usually in moist areas, like the lawn or shady places), in the pet’s bedding or in the carpet or furniture of your home. After an appropriate amount of time the larvae spin cocoons which are called pupae. These pupae are nearly impossible to kill with insecticides and will hatch in from 5 days to 5 weeks, depending on weather conditions. They hatch into small fleas which grow rapidly into adult fleas. Only the flea stage actually causes a problem for your pet. Fleas spread disease (such as bubonic plague) and parasites (like tapeworms) and suck blood (their food) which can weaken your pet (depending on the number of fleas and the size and health of the pet). They cause excessive scratching, either because of the tickling sensation when moving or because of allergic reactions to their bite.

The cycle is completed more quickly when it is warm, which is why heat waves seem to draw fleas out of the woodwork. Actually, the life cycle being speeded up is what produces more fleas to torment your pet and you.

Methods of Controlling Fleas

If your pet has a significant flea problem right now, we recommend a  an effective flea killing agent like Vectra and the right medication for the skin condition your pet has. Ask us about the best product for the condition of your pet.

The next step is killing the fleas in your pet’s environment to stop them from causing skin problems for your pet.

New and Improved Products

With the development of products that last about a month on the pet, we finally have flea control products that are easy to use, environmentally friendly and have a very low potential to poison our pets while we are trying to protect them from fleas. They are used once a month and I strongly recommend using Vectra, which is very effective in controlling the fleas on the pet and the environment. I also   like the fact that it stays in the skin and is not absorbed into the body. Insectisides that are absorbed into the body are more likely to have adverse side effects for the pet..

Do not be fooled by cheap imitations. Most of the products from pet shops and feed stores that are being promoted as just as good as Vectra do not have the same ingredients and are actually insecticides that have the potential to cause toxic reactions while not being as effective as Vectra.

Vectra is available at Ojai Pet Hospital.


Allergies Arthritis Blood Pressure
Canine Reproduction Corticosteroids Dental Disease
Feline Hyperthyroidism Feline Reproduction Fleas & Flea Control
Heart Disease Heartworm Heat Stroke
Immunizations for Dogs Immunizations for Cats Intestinal Parasites
Kidney Disease Liver Disease Neutering Surgery
Obesity Poison Prevention Spaying Surgery