I live in the South, the land that fleas and ticks call heaven. For pet owners, it can be akin to hell. I didn’t always live here–most of my life I spent in the arid Southwest, where fleas are easily controlled with minimal effort. Not so here.
In addition, my older dog, who was born and raised in the Southwest, is highly allergic to flea bites. A single bite has her in fits of frantic chewing, resulting in bald patches and sores. It’s hardly attractive, and certainly indicates her level of misery.
So we’ve spent a fortune over the years controlling the nasty things. Most of my hard earned dollars have gone to Frontline, and then, a couple of years ago, we began to see insistent fleas remaining behind, despite religious application of the Frontline Plus. We alternated with Advantix and Advantage, and still…there were some persistence of the fleas, although in reduced numbers. I’d catch sight of them, and I swore they gave me the finger.
With Comfortis, we did have 100% control, but…at what cost? After recalls of other products in the past, I’m a bit leery of an oral solution to a topical infestation. In addition, Comfortis is expensive and requires a veterinary prescription. After the initial supply of Comfortis was gone, we went back to the over-the-counter use of Frontline Plus, often needing to apply it every 3 weeks rather than monthly, at least during the summer when fleas are planning their own summer vacations on my dogs and cats.
Recently, on a foray to purchase more flea remedy, we discovered a product called “Pet Armor Plus” at our local Walmart and Sam’s Club. It appears to contain identical ingredients to Frontline Plus. It’s also less than 50% of the cost of Frontline Plus, and when you’ve just ended up with a third dog who wandered up and refused to leave…and have two cats who arrived the same way, our monthly flea treatment expense was formidable. We also don’t like fleas and their potential to carry disease.
We gambled, and since we were shopping specifically for the two small dogs’ flea treatment (Red Dog, our big girl, still had a dose left) we bought a box of three doses for the two of them to share (at 7 & 20 lbs, they required the same size dose.)
A week later…they are still flea free, despite regular contact with our neighbors’ dogs, who happen to be hosting the National Democratic Republic of Fleas annual summer convention. On these dogs, treated only with the traditional spray, powder, and shampoo routine, you can literally stand and watch the fleas moving through their coats, building cities and highways along their routes.
Okay, I realize that the Fipronil used in the product is regarded as a potential carcinogen, and as a hazardous chemical, it may also have other health issues. However, I regard the continual infestation of fleas as having a far more immediate and potentially equally dangerous side effects, ranging from infection from open sores to diseases and round worms. The itch from the flea bites is intense…I know, I’ve had enough of the bites myself! Continual use of anti-allergy medication isn’t exactly healthy either.
It’s a trade off. Yes, it puts their long term health at risk. But without it, their short term quality of life suffers, and there are mid term health hazards to consider too. It would be great if we could treat their space and be done, but in the South, that doesn’t work. Everything has fleas, they move around, and everything living in nature are regarded as a potential ride into new territory. In addition, we like taking our pets with us on excursions, and those areas are obviously NOT treated for fleas…and we’re infested all over again.
So far, I’m pleased with Pet Armor Plus. It seems to be working as well as Frontline Plus. The price could be lower and make me happier, but it isn’t. We won’t see further reductions in price until more generic versions of Frontline hit the market.
From the veterinary industry, we’re being cautioned about potential reactions and told that it is not really the same. We’ve heard this before, and we all suspect it is because it affects the veterinary clinics’ bottom line. Yes, reactions can occur and they can be dangerous, but guess what? That’s true with Frontline too. Allergic reactions are unpredictable in some cases. I’ve had severe allergic reactions to commonly consumed foods and medications, requiring emergency medical intervention. Does that mean that these items are hazardous and should be avoided by everyone? Of course not! It is an individual reaction. One of these veterinarian based statements I read claimed the inert ingredients were the source of the reactions and other hazards of this generic version. I find that difficult to swallow–inert ingredients are inert ones, and while an allergic reaction could occur, there should be no “other hazards” resulting from these inert ingredients because they are INERT.
Another complaint is that the Pet Armor Plus is manufactured in India. Okay, so I prefer American products myself, but…we don’t make much here anymore, and often the quality is sub-standard when we do. If the quality is high, so is the price tag. That’s why we’ve seen so many jobs lost in the manufacturing industry already. India is better than China, as far as being the manufacturing country is concerned in my eyes. We’ve seen too many contaminated items coming out of China in the past decade. I’m not sure where Frontline Plus is manufactured either.
In these trying times, with budgets strained to the breaking point, many people have had to give up their pets, unable to care for them. Veterinary visits are often too expensive, and avoiding the annual visit is not uncommon either. Pet owners are struggling to make ends meet too, and a less expensive solution to the flea issue is important. So far, I’ve got no reason to discontinue the use of Pet Armor Plus and revert to my rotation through the three big name flea products with their big prices too. We’ll see how this month plays out.