Ask the Veterinarian/Fleas


My cat, Romeo has a relentless case of the fleas! He is and american shorthair and he is three years old. he eats purina cat chow. He eats about three cups of food daily. He isnt fat, he is used to being outside so he eats off boredom. He is up to date on ALL his vaccinations. We have tried everything! Including: Powders, sprays, shampoos, shaving him, drops. EVERYTHING!!! we have found thousands of black balls all over him which we think are flea eggs. but we are sure they are fleas because we have found many of them on him and killed them immediatly.please help! thank you.

Flea cycle and pyramid
Flea cycle and pyramid  

Fleas in carpet
Fleas in carpet  
Poor Romeo!
Well, first of all, you need to get him off of the junk food and onto a good diet. Garbage in, garbage out. His immune system isn't doing very well if he is covered with fleas. Plus, he could become anemic from blood loss if he is that full of them.

So, you need to wean him off of the garbage, and onto some Science Diet Light for Adult cats. That will help with his weight issues if he has any.If he doesn't, then use the Adult formula.You can also put him on the new Grain free foods that Hills has just come out with. My cats are on this and they are soft as silk.

This will also fulfill his energy needs so that he doesn't eat 3 cups of food a day. That's what you would feed a 65 lb DOG!! He eats that much because he is trying to get "a pound of protein out of a box of saltine crackers"- it's not going to happen. Animals eat to fulfill their energy needs- and those are the needs of the body when it is at rest and active both. Purina has no nutritional value worth stating, so the cat has to eat and eat to try and meet his needs. Purina, as well as all other grocery store foods, buy whatever is cheap on the docks daily and splits that with other companies- then they use that to make their food. As a result, they don't even keep the formulas consistent. This is called "open formulation" and all pet food companies, except Hills, have gone to this way of manufacturing because of cost.

Hills uses "closed formulations" which means that their food is the same consistently, month to month, batch to batch. Because they have over 80 years of veterinary research behind every kind and formula of food that they make, their food provides Optimal Nutrition and nutrient density as well.

What that means for you is less trips to the store to buy food. A little of this food goes a long way. It takes three weeks for this food to work its way into the cats system and fill up his needs, then he will start eating less and less food. Why? Because he won't require as much food.
What does this mean for him? Shiny, soft coat, better immune system which can better fight off fleas, smaller less smelly stool as well.

Now, once you have him started on that, you need to go to the VETS office and get a bottle of Ovitrol Plus spray and a box of Program for Romeo. Both of these products are IGRs, or Insect Growth Regulators.

Your biggest problem is not the fleas you see, but the millions of eggs, larvae and cocoons you DON'T see on your floors and in your rugs. The live fleas are the tip of the iceberg.

Here is what a flea cycle looks like:

The most prevalent species of flea to infest pets around the globe is the cat flea. In order to understand how flea infestations occur, it is important to have a basic understanding of the flea life cycle.

Please click on the tabs above to learn more about the different stages of the flea life cycle.  

The cat flea life cycle has four main stages:

The adult fleas you see on your pet are only 5% of any flea infestation, the remaining 95% are living as immature stages in your home.

That last part is VERY IMPORTANT. Now the Ovitrol can be sprayed on a washrag and wiped all over Romeos body. This will help kill some of the adults on him. The black things you are seeing are fleas AND flea feces. This falls off of the cat onto the floor where the LARVAL stages of the flea eat it. They then spin a cocoon and wait about two weeks to hatch. Nothing can kill the cocoon so you will have a smaller, but new hatch in two- three weeks after you knock down the initial batch of fleas. The flea eggs are white, and can be seen mixed in with the feces down on his skin. These are not sticky and they fall off onto your floor where they hatch into larvae and then eat the feces falling off all over the place.

Get Romeo started on Program, pills, or injectable. Program is a flea hormone disruptor which is safe for humans and cats and it Sterilizes the adult fleas, then it prevents the larvae from forming a cocoon. So it helps kill off two stages of the flea cycle- two of the MOST IMPORTANT ONES. You should spray your house as well with some Ovitrol Plus house spray, if possible.

Now once he is on the monthly Program, you will see less and less fleas on him and in the area. In about three months he will be flea free and so will your house.

I know this plan works because I have been using Sentinel on my dogs and cats for over 15 years and I have NO fleas at all on my three acres. Sentinel is Program with heartworm prevention included in it.

I have had clients just like you come back and tell me it's a miracle how this works. Now you have to go to your vets for these products because you cannot get program without a prescription.

This page will tell you more about the types of Program available.

I will include a photo of the flea pyramid. It will amaze you. Of all the flea products out there, including some the vets sell, what I have outlined here for you works the very best.

If you stick to it, and get these products, you will be a happy camper and so will Romeo. He will slim down, be more active and shiny as well as healthier.

So use what I have listed in here and then let me know how he does in about a month.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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