World War Flea: Fight Them With the Force of Fipronil

UPDATED: Nov 14, 2013

It really is amazing to me how something so small as a flea can lead to such a mountain of grossness, suffering and disease. A flea is smaller than letters on this page, but the lowly flea is responsible for tons of human and animal misery and was a major player in the Black Death of the 14th century. I bet those poor folks wish they had the power of science and the simplicity of a humble little compound known as fipronil (the active ingredient in SENTRY Fiproguard) to help them battle the Plague, which was spread by fleas (although that one was the rat flea, a cousin of the little suckers that infest our domestic pets).

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a source of important information about fleas and the many diseases that they carry, and also the source of some wonderful nightmare fuel, like this little gem:

  • Fleas breed close to the resting and sleeping places of the host.

Personally, I don’t like being referred to as ‘the host’ unless we are discussing the awesome garden parties that my wife and I throw.  It just sounds so…personal. It makes me think of the famous scene in Alien where John Hurt…well, you know.

Before I got all medical and veterinary, I didn’t know that fleas could bite people as well as animals. I thought we were special. One day in parasitology class, as we were discussing the life cycle of the flea and other squirmy and grody topics, it was brought to my attention that fleas can hop right off of your pets and right onto you and start slurping away at the blood that your poor and hard-working bone marrow has been striving to produce for you. I have been slightly itchy when seeing a picture of a flea ever since – not to mention when seeing the real thing.

On that topic, here’s one more spine-tingling factoid from the WHO:

  • People moving into a vacant house can cause many fleas to emerge simultaneously from the cocoons and attack people or animals in large numbers.

Yeah….no.

I’m just…nope! Can’t even stomach it. I mean, I’m OK with part of that statement, like maybe the ‘vacant house’ part, or maybe the ‘into’ part, but, seriously – emerging from cocoons? Attacking people? Large numbers? Is this World War Z? Some days, you just want to pull the covers over your head and read comic books rather than emerge into the scary and flea-ridden world.

So we obviously need a secret weapon in the fight against the tiny slurping invaders. See the chart below:

Threat Action/Cure
Vampire Stake through heart, garlic
Zombie Decapitation, Brussels sprouts*
Werewolf Silver (usually in bullet form), asparagus*
Flea Fipronil, potato*

* Little known fact: must be sown in the soil from a graveyard, be totally organic and grown by Michael Pollan

Fipronil, the active ingredient in SENTRY Fiproguard, causes the flea’s nervous system to implode at the speed of light – it’s like giving a flea 17 venti lattes followed by some NoDoz® and cotton candy. They just sort of twitch, jitter and seizure to death, which I think is an appropriately fitting end for a nasty little bugger that has caused Europe so much tragedy and robbed me of so much sleep. The nice part of this equation is that the compound has no effect on mammalian nervous systems, so the host (in this case, your cat or dog – who may be busy throwing garden parties of their own) is not affected by it. The potato works against fleas only if you crush them with it, which is time-consuming and cumbersome. Decapitation also works on fleas, but that requires an electron microscope and a flea-sized machete.

So, take steps to win World War Flea – if you want to prevent your cat or dog (or you!) from becoming the host (please – learn from the poor Europeans!) then preventing or treating a flea infestation is as easy as monthly application of SENTRY Fiproguard to your pet’s back. It’s so much easier than cutting their little heads off.

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