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Fleas on a newborn kitten.

Species: Cat
Breed: Short haired cat
Age: Less than 3 mon
My cat just had kittens and they have fleas. What can I do to get rid of fleas on them when they are this young?




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It is definitely very important to get rid of fleas on young kittens. I have seen kittens die from having too many fleas as the fleas can eat enough blood to cause severe anemia.

The problem is that all of the good flea products are only labelled for use in kittens that are older than 6 or 8 weeks.

Many vets will still prescribe a medication such as Advantage and instead of having you use the whole tube will instruct you to use just one drop on each kitten. This is what is called "off label use" and you need to talk to your vet if you are going to do this.

What I usually recommend is a gentle bath in Dawn dish detergent. The dish soap does have some effect against fleas and will slow them down. Then, once the kitten is bathed take a flea comb (which you can buy at any pet store) and thoroughly comb through the kitten. You should be able to remove a good number of the fleas.

Once the kitten reaches 6 weeks old then I would use a prescription strength product recommended by your vet.

It is also really important that all of the cats and dogs in the house are treated with a prescription strength product as well.

I would highly recommend that you read this article about flea control.



---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.