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Problem with fleas, yucky!


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jun 30, 2005
My house, my cat, my sisters cat and rabbit are INFESTED with fleas. Somehow the fleas managed to get in this past winter, and it seems that after a couple weeks without them, they come storming back in. I've tried many different products like advantage, hartz, and biospot on my cat, but they seem to make her ill. We're taking all the animals out of the house and bombing the house today, but we've already tried this twice and they still come back. My question is, what else can I do? I've tried potions, lotions, baths, bombs, and nothing is getting rid of these darn fleas! Im afraid my cat may get sick (or worse) if we don't rid our house of these "guests". Please offer any advice, im up for anything at this point.

PS. As much as I want a pair of cavies, as long as the fleas are here I refuse to bring more animals into a potentially harmful situation.
Definitely stay away from Hartz products and Biospot. They've been known to cause severe internal problems in animals, and Hartz has frequent recalls on its products.

What kind of problems has Advantage caused your cat? I know many people who'll have one product work for them but another won't. Some people may have luck with Advantage, and others will have luck with Frontline. When they try the other product, it doesn't work. I don't use flea stuff very often, but when I do, I stick with Frontline. I buy the spray because I can use it on both of my dogs and my cat, and I don't have to use a lot, so the bottle lasts forever.

Have you looked into Capstar? (broken link removed)

It's pretty cheap...maybe 15 dollars for a box of six. The pills only last 24 hours, but they kill fleas within 30 minutes. So if you have an animal just covered in fleas, you can always give one of these first and apply a topical product like Frontline later.

Make sure you check their stool for tapeworm segments, since tapes are caused by animals injesting fleas. You may have to make a vet trip for some fecals and tapeworm meds if the fecals are positive for tapes.

A lot of people on the dog forum I go to use Diatomaceous Earth in their yards. They swear by it, but I've never used it. Here is some info one person posted about it:

Diatomaceous Earth

Horticultural grade diatomaceous earth (as opposed to the cheaper, less effective product used in swimming pool filters) is a non-toxic, safe substance made up from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life. Crushed to a fine powder and observed through a microscope, the particles resemble bits of broken glass. Deadly to any insect and completely harmless to animals, fish, fowl or food. Effective against most crawling insects, such as cockroaches, earwigs, flies, ants, crickets, moths, slugs, grasshoppers, millipedes, centipedes, and others.

How it works
Most insects have a waxy outer shell covering their bodies and diatomaceous earth scratches through this shell causing the insect to dehydrate leading to eventual death.

Directions for use
Apply with a hand duster, powder duster, or other suitable means around the perimeter of plants you want to protect. As with many organic strategies, prevention is half the battle. Apply in advance of problems around the plants you know to be vulnerable to insect damage. Re-apply after heavy rainfall
I have not used this brand, but here is info from the site:
Perma-Guard Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is EPA approved and registered for use against indoor and outdoor crawling insects, including cockroaches, ants, bedbugs, fleas, boxelder bugs, carpet beetles, centipedes, crickets, earwigs, grasshoppers, ticks, millipedes, scorpions, slugs, and silverfish. For use in Cracks, Crevices, Hiding and Running Areas, Under and Behind Appliances, and Wall and Floor Surfaces. For use in and around homes, office buildings, restaurants, motels, warehouses, theaters, schools, hotels, and food handling establishments.

DE is odorless and nontoxic.

DE is composed of finely milled fossilized shells of minuscule organisms called diatoms. The microscopically fine, sharp edges desiccate the insects' exoskeleton upon contact and the pests dehydrate and die within hours. The insects also die when they eat the dust.

Indoor and Outdoor Application: Sprinkle a light layer of DE in areas where pests frequent, including under stoves, cabinets, sinks, garbage cans, window and door frames and sills, entrance ways, sewer pipes and drains, and in cracks and crevices. Repeat treatment as needed.
For Carpet Beetles: Thoroughly dust along baseboards, carpet edges, under furniture, carpet, and rugs, and in closets and shelving.

For Bedbugs: Take apart bed and dust joints and channels. Dust any hollow tubing and the interior framework as well as the mattress and all cracks in the room.

For Fleas: Thoroughly dust carpets and pet's bedding and sleeping areas, as well as cracks and baseboards. It also can be rubbed into your pet's fur.

For Flies: Thoroughly dust areas where flies frequent (walls, straw bedding, livestock pens). It also can be applied to livestock coat as an insect repellent/contact insecticide.


And here is a link to the thread about DE. People also mention other flea products in there, so it could help you. (broken link removed)

Good luck!
First off, a huge thank you for all the wonderful infomation, I knew this was the right place to post. We have the fleas under control- for now that is. I bathed my cat with flea shampoo twice this week, then twice more with kitten shampoo to remove any excess flea dirt/dead fleas/eggs that may be lingering. Im going to try frontline, as both biospot and hartz made her throw up and advantage made the spot of application turn red and flakey. My Dad is also going to bomb our house again, including the porch and attic. I'm also going to look into buying DE, as it sounds phenominal, that's exactally the kind of thing I need, something that can not only go in the house, but on the cat as well.

One more question, what do tapeworms look like so I know if she has to go to the vet?
Tapeworm are completely unrelated to fleas. They are caused by ingesting eggs or sections of the worm containing eggs (called proglottids) from infected individuals. You can tell if your pet (or even humans - ick!) is infected by small, centimetre long sections of the worm in the faeces. There are often no symptoms other than this.
In the United States there are two predominant types of tapeworms: Tanea and Diplydium caninum. Dypildium is transmitted by fleas. Tanea is transmitted by rodents, bad food etc. Humans can pick up echinococcus, a short tape worm that can cause a huge cyst in the abdomen and the fluid inside is extremely allergenic. The removal of these cycsts is very difficult and rupturing the cyst can cause the patient to go into anaphylactic shock and die. Dogs can get this as well.

Here's a link to everything gross you never wanted to hear about tapeworms. It also includes pics of both types under a microscope. (broken link removed)

Tapeworm segments in poop look like little grains of rice.

Here's some more info about tapes. The first one actually talks about cats.

(broken link removed)

And here's some more worm info:
(broken link removed)
This is all so very confusing. o_O Methinks its time for a visit to the vet, just to be safe on all sides of the issue.

Another weird thing I noticed, my cat had a weird zit-like black thing on her chin a few days ago, that "popped" when I was feeling it between my fingers. What was it, and is it related to the fleas?
You're right...better safe than sorry. Sometimes there's only so much you can do on your own.

Keep an eye on the area where the "zit" was just incase it reappears and ask the vet about it when you go. It could just be one of those things has occurrs randomly. Animals are so odd sometimes. :D
I was wondering if it was actually was a zit, as I've shaved her chin recently to clean a particularly nasty flea nibble and maybe there was a buildup of oil? Kind of like why we get zits, 'cos we have no fur, hence nothing to oil but our skin? I shaved the rest of her fur short(It's very muggy here, she seemed uncomfortable. Plus we can get at her skin easier to get rid of the fleas.) and there haven't been any elsewhere. Yes, our animals tend to be random, don't they? =o)

I'm very pleased with how the DE is working, my grandmother has a 50 pound bag in her shed and let us take a tub home with us. I actually sat on the floor in front of the TV without getting bitten once, and all the ones I've seen on the cat are dead, or sickly looking. My Dad also sprayed poison around our foundation, then put some more DE there as well.
Wow, DE works that fast? I never used it, but I know many people that love it. I never would have guessed it worked so fast. From what I understand, they also made food-grade DE that is edible, although I'm not sure why someone would need to eat it.
...Yum? Yea, I don't get that either. I'd imagine if you ate bugs they'd die.

It seriously works, I was very amazed. It's all I've used for now, as I'm letting Lilac recover from her ordeal with the other flea treatments before we go out and get the capstar, frontline, and de-flea spray. These fleas are going to be gone in two weeks or I'll eat my boot, I will!
If the DE is working that well, then you can hold off on the Capstar and whatnot and maybe just use Frontline. However, it wouldn't hurt if you kept Capstar on hand. It's pretty cheap.

Wow, I'm so glad this is getting better. What a pain, eh?
A total pain in the butt if you ask me. I found a few on her belly last night, so I bathed her and rubbed some more DE into her skin. Trying to get a vet apppointment but my car is busted and my Dad is a butt about giving me rides, I'll probably take a taxi. The house seems clean though, I ate my dinner on the floor and there were no fleas, I'm going to assume thats a good sign *crosses fingers*.
Is the DE the same as seven dust? I have a friend who has GP's. She says she puts seven dust on them for fleas and lice. Is this safe for the pigs?
From what I've read, seven dust is a toxin, and should not be used on animals. On the label it says to wear gloves, that alone makes me wary. If it can't touch my skin, why on earth would I use it on a pet? I doubt they're the same thing, as DE is an all-natural product.
Well, I know you can use Seven spray on vegetables and still eat it. Hmmm...I just read about folks using Seven Dust to get rid of mites in a snake cage. So I have no idea. I wouldn't mess with it until I really looked into it.
...although I'm not sure why someone would need to eat it.

There are three grades of DE: pool, horticultural, and food. One isn't going to sit down to a heaping bowl of DE for breakfast, but it is used for controlling insects in flour, grain, etc.
Oh, now I get it. That makes sense. Hehe, you made me laugh with the "heaping bowl" bit. =o)
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