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The recent research highlighted in the Guardian reinforces the need to take environmental contamination with insecticides seriously.
ESCCAP UK & Ireland continues to encourage more research so environmental contamination can be taken into account when selecting which flea treatments to use. Year round flea treatment for cats and dogs however, remains essential because.
1. Exposure to fleas is ubiquitous with no single group of pets being at significantly decreased risk compared to others.
2. Exposure occurs all year round and if you wait until flea infestations establish then they take months to eliminate, resulting in increased morbidity and discomfort for pets and owners as well as increased zoonotic pathogen exposure.
3. If veterinary professionals don't recommend year round flea treatment for cats and dogs then infestations will occur leading to many pet owners seeking flea products elsewhere, often without correct application advice (how to apply without spillage, avoid swimming, shampooing etc.), leading to more environmental contamination and not less.
We continue to advise that veterinary professionals advise year round flea treatment for cats and dogs while emphasising the importance of avoiding swimming and shampooing with products susceptible to washing off. Demonstrating correct application remains very important. As more research takes place, the extent to which different insecticides are shed into the environment should be taken into account when selecting a flea treatment product.