Help! fleas are sucking the life out of my collie!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Sylverfly, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    I'm at a loss as to what I should do, my poor rough collie is miserable. He spends all his time scratching and chewing on himself he is now missing hair from scratching so much. He is crawling with fleas and covered in tiny red scabs from them biting him. I have been treating him religiously with front-line every month for 5 months in a row right on time with the correct weight. I've taken him to the vet and they told me I would see no improvement for at least three months of continuous treatment 3 months went by and I've seen no improvement. I called and asked if there was anything else I could do for my poor dog. They said the front-line had to be working and I was just seeing a flea here and there and that I didn't have an infestation going ( I do). I asked them if there was another flea product I could try that was safe for rough collies (Since many rough collies and a few other breeds cannot tolerate most flea meds do to the chemicals used in these preventatives, and many have died from this genetic trait). The vet tech on the phone told me she didn't know what else I could use because she had never heard of rough collies being sensitive to anything, and acted like I was making this bit of info up. She said flea dips only work the day you you dip them (couldn't tell me if they were safe) and told me I should call the front-line company and see if they would give me a voucher or coupon so I could buy some more (because it has been working great for me and my dog). All the other vets are to far away and won't sell me anything unless my dog has been there before, I can't drive and have no way to get him there to be seen. I've tried tons of herbal/natural treatments and nothing is working. I'd like to flea bomb the whole house, give my poor dog a flea dip (for fast relief) and then continue to treat him monthly with a flea preventive that won't kill him but actually works. If anyone knows a bomb product and a safe treatment for collies please tell me, my current vet could order it if I just tell them what I need.
  2. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think if I were you, I would call or email Rough Collie breeders (reputable ones) and ask them what they use for flea control on their collies. Second, you have such a bad infestation that you will have to treat everything at once and then follow up with additional treatments and control measures EVERY week.

    You must treat your entire house and yard/area where dog spends time. If the yard is too big to treat, select a portion of the yard to treat and only allow the dog in that area on leash or in a dog run. You will have to wash all fabrics in hot water. You will have to bomb the house. If your yard is grassy and overgrown, I suggest you mow/cut it short. Then spray the yard with a yard/kennel spray. Touch up the yard by spraying once a week or as needed. Touch up your house after bombing by using a good flea spray on the dogs bedding and any furniture that may be infested. Put a flea collar in your vaccuum cleaner bag, and vaccuum daily if possible. Once a week, sprinkle Borax powder into carpet, brush in with a stiff broom and leave in at least a few hours, or overnight and then vacuum it up. Wash your dog 1-2 times a week (until infestation is under control) with a flea dip/shampoo like Adams.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  3. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Call Merial (the company that produces frontline). If you are purchasing your frontline at the vet and you have receipts (your vet can probably print new ones if you've already tossed the ones from the time of purchase) and all of your pets have been on frontline (or a comparable flea preventative in the case of small mammals for which frontline is not safe) the company absolutely guarantees that their product will work and they will send someone out to check out the situation to see if they can find where something is being missed. If they find that the product is being applied correctly and you're still fighting with fleas, they will pay to have terminex come to your house and treat the house and yard.

    I would second calling around to some rough collie breeders and asking them what they recommend for flea control. Honestly, in 11 years of working for a vet I have not heard of collies being any more sensitive to flea products than other breeds. Ivermectin, when used at doses much higher than what is recommended for heartworm or intestinal parasite control, yes. But not any of the flea control products currently on the market. I would think Revolution would be safe since it is safe for use in rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets where Frontline is not safe to use, but it usually isn't quite as good at flea control. I would also think that Advantage would be a safe alternative if you wanted to go with a topical product similar to Frontline. Comfortis or Trifexis has been getting a lot of good reviews too, even from people who have had issues with the Frontline not working well for them. It is a new product for the vet I work for, so I can't say I have a lot of experience or a great knowledge of the product, but I haven't heard of it being an issue for collies either. And capstar works quickly to kill any fleas on the animal, but it is out of the system within 24 hours so you would have to dose daily while treating the environment in order for it to be effective.

    I would avoid a flea dip or shampoo personally. The person at your vet is right in that they have very limited effectiveness and do not provide lasting control. Any soap or shampoo will kill the fleas that are on your dog at the time of a bath and will make him feel a little more comfortable the day of the bath. But if you are dealing with an infestation in the environment (which it certainly sounds like) your dog is going to just pick up more fleas once they step out of the tub. I would think that any flea dip/shampoo that has lasting residual effects would have a significant pesticide residue which would mean an increased risk for reactions. Several OTC flea shampoos (Hartz) have been known to cause seizures and even death in dogs even when used according to label instructions, and that includes many breeds that have no known genetic predisposition to sensitivities the way collies do. Also, most of the flea dip/shampoo products that are available have been around long enough that there is a significant resistance to them. Not to mention the potential for reactions to the chemicals in your topical flea preventative.

    For a good flea bomb/environmental treatment you might try calling around to local exterminators and see what they recommend. If the fleas are as bad as it sounds, you may even want to consider hiring a professional exterminator to come in and treat your house and yard rather than trying to do it yourself.

    One final note, it sounds like your poor dog could have a flea bite allergy. If that is the case, then it doesn't take a full blown infestation to turn an allergic dog into a hot mess. All it takes is a single bite to set off an allergic reaction that can balloon into really bad skin problems. Treating the fleas is crucial, since that's the trigger for the allergen. But you can also make him more comfortable by treating allergy symptoms. Benadryl, at 1mg per pound of body weight, is safe and may help calm the itching. I would expect a rough collie to take 2-3 tabs THREE times daily (unless they are very sedated by it or they are a very awkward size, in which case you would use it twice a day and possibly at a higher dose). Yes, it seems like a lot, especially when you compare it to how much a human would take, but it is safe and under dosing a dog with antihistamines is about as useful as not giving them any antihistamines at all. Bathing with an anti-itch shampoo and using an anithistamine or cortisone leave on conditioner is also often helpful in providing relief.
  4. McGobs

    McGobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2012
    Just brought one of my 3 Shih Tzu's to the vet 2 weeks ago...and on the way there, I noticed a flee on him(he is a white shih tzu..flees really stand out on him). Swearing my head off in the car, I remembered I just put frontline on him 2 weeks before the appointment. This is the 3rd time I've seen a flee on one of my dogs since July.

    My vet said..and I quote "We've had a lot of cases where frontline just isn't working against flees this year. So many in fact we stopped carrying it all together and switched to K9 Advantix"

    Now you can take it as you want. I'm not promoting one product over the other or saying one works better than the other. But I was a solid frontline user every month for 6+ years...and its just not working for us anymore against flees. So I switched, and haven't seen any flees yet. Been only a week'ish since I applied it...but so far so good.
  5. Fly 2006

    Fly 2006 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2012
    Hampshire England
    Yep we've had problems with Frontline here, the vets have said it is just not working for a lot of dogs! Hope you get this sorted soon, your poor dog must be tormented by the little buggers and you must be at your wits end with it [​IMG]
  6. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2011
    I guess my best advice would be to switch to Advantix. Never had a problem with any of my animals continuing to have problems with Advantix or Advantage. You shouldn't still have a flea problem. My vet doesn't even carry Frontline.

    RHRanch gives some good advice. You will have to take care of the whole situation, now. Switch to Advantix and bomb the house! Remember to vacuum multi times daily. If you have a bagless sweeper, you will need to spray the fleas before you pour the dirt into the trash. If you are using a bagged sweeper, pour flea powder into the bag before vacuuming.

    Good luck!
  7. Mehjr10

    Mehjr10 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2012
    Moscow, TN
  8. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2010
    I completely agree with the above advice. I have had good luck with Zodiac products for fleas - their bombs for the house and then carpet and upholstery sprays. For the house, if you do bomb for fleas, remove all animals and yourself for at least the minimum recommended time. It might be a good opportunity to wash your dog while waiting for the bombs to do their work and then apply his flea treatment. Once at least the minimum time has passed for the bomb, go into the house and quickly open up all windows to allow it to air out before taking yourself and the dog back in permanently. If Frontline is not working, try another brand with different medicines. I have had good success with treating any carpet and furniture/curtains/pet beds with a flea carpet spray - these tend to have residual effect for up to 8 months which really helps. If you can, remove couch cushions or throw rugs or pet beds and spray them outside - then let them dry for an hour or two before brining them back in. If you have a carpetted room, you can spray the carpet and shut the door so no pets can get in while it drys - again, leave the windows open so any fumes dissipate. Frequent vacuuming is a must. Borax on the carpet definitely helps as does mopping floors with Borax. Also, as mentioned by AinaWGSD, this could all be complicated by a flea bite allergy - so talk to your vet about possible relief for that too. I have heard that rough collies are particularly sensitive so contacting responsible breeders about the products they use is a great idea. And finally, while it doesn't kill the fleas existing on your pets, Program is a great product to use in addition to a topical product or an environmental product - it prevents the fleas from reproducing and helps break the cycle of reinfestation. And it is great for animals with chemical sensitivies. While my dogs tolerate topical flea treatments, my cats are extremely sensitive to them so I use Program for the cats. Good luck!
  9. braindead101

    braindead101 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2011
    I have Italian Greyhounds that tend to be sensitive to some stuff. You have to attack fleas on all fronts. Others have explained about treating your yard, I'm going to suggest what to do in your home and for your dog. First, go buy a flea collar, a cheap one. Cut it into 1" pieces and place one in your vacuum cleaner bag. When you suck up the nasties they come into contact with the collar and die. You will need to vacuum daily, every place you can think of, down in the sofa and chairs, in the closet, etc. Fleas live on and in dirt, they need the blood meal to reproduce. There can be a hatch weekly depending on when the eggs were laid. Put another piece into the bag every time you change the bag, don't get frugal and try to reuse the flea collar bit. If you have a vacuum with the plastic collector take it straight to the trash outside to empty. For your dog, fill a spray bottle half and half, water and vinegar, then add a good squeeze of dawn dish soap. Gently blend and spray your dog, separating hair to get the mixture through to the skin. Leave on for 10-15 minutes then rinse repeatedly in cool water till no suds bubble up. As for a flea spray I use Adams flea mist when necessary, it's safe enough for pups and kittens.
  10. Henny peeny

    Henny peeny Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2007
    My cat had fleas and was at himself all the time the fur was missing and all then I got PROGRAM it is ORAL it is the kill the baby fleas and lava but I have not seen a flean on him and his coat is so soft and fluffy He is not a very long haired cat. I have given it to the other cat to I have had front line on my dogs on had fleas so bad he was raw from trying to stratch himself I went to the vet and I got CONFORTIS no problems once a month oral I find I have better resault with oral and the topical I had to give the dog a bath before I did the Frontline it worked good for me but it was a bugger to get it on with the dog not being still and then parting the hair to get in on the skin so now I just give the dog one oral and it is don't. this stuff is for Heart warms fleas ticks round worms whip worms and any other worm you can think of I don't think it is for mosqitos but it does a is trifexis Inceptor I had them on but the company is not making it right now once the company makes it again I will go to inceptor is I think it read that it disolves the heart worms or eggs and this is why I got it it is also cheaper then some other meds you can get. I got my first fronm the vet then I order on line. So will see when interceptor will be back.


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