Deflea or die

YVETTE BATTEN- NORTH TARANAKI MIDWEEK
Last updated 11:14 05/03/2014
kittenstn
YVETTE BATTEN / Fairfax NZ
Feeding time: North Taranaki SPCA centre manager Andrea Collins feeds Wilbur the kitten. Wilbur is named after William Wilberforce who, among other things, was an advocate for animals.

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North Taranaki SPCA is dealing with a case that highlights the need for people to deflea their kittens.

Wilbur the kitten, believed to be about 3 weeks old at the time of his rescue, was admitted to the shelter last week.

As well as being seriously underweight the wee kitten was crawling with fleas.

"When he came in he was really cold and he was riddled with fleas," North Taranaki SPCA centre manager Andrea Collins said.

"We spent ages picking off fleas. In the end there was so many we had to bath him, dry him with the dryer and de-flea  him with Frontline Spray."

Wilbur was found on a property in Westown.

It is possible he was dumped but it is more likely he was lost because mother cats often move their litters.

He may have even crawled away himself. Since he was discovered he's come back from the brink of death.

"They [kittens] get really anaemic from fleas. We had one in recently that somebody brought in. It was that flea-riddled, I went straight out to the vet but by the time I got to the vet it had died," she said.

New Plymouth Vet Group senior vet Robert Mills said it's important both kittens and their mother are monitored for fleas.

"It's important to use a safe yet effective product, an example is Frontline Spray which is licensed to be used on newborn kittens and puppies."

He recommends visiting a vet for these products rather than getting them at the grocery store.

"There are some very good and safe products now available through the grocery chain.

"However, flea control is much more than just putting product on. I believe that by purchasing product via a veterinarian or vet practice there will be the opportunity to discuss options and seek advice."

Although fleas are most commonly a problem during the warmer months it's important to maintain effective flea control all year round, he said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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