Friday, July 22, 2016

My 1994 Flea Infestation From Hell #12Bravecto

I hate fleas. But then again, who doesn't, so let's move on.

In 1994, newly married (but before human kids) and with our four pets (three cats and a dog), I experienced the worst indoor bug incident of my entire life: near death by fleas. OK, maybe death wasn't so near as eventual, but still. The fleas were EVERYWHERE, and in legions (Lord of the Rings legions, y'all). Pinhead sized demons, they were, and out for a blood meal (x 184,277, give or take).

So, being superior beings, my husband and I annihilated them. It was horrible.

It was HORRIBLE. I've heard this story before. 

This post is sponsored by BRAVECTO® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about BRAVECTO.  But we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neither Intervet Inc., nor Merck & Co Inc., are responsible for the content of this article and have not written, reviewed, or edited it in any fashion. For more information about BRAVECTO please click here

Let me back up for a bit.


Reminder: This was 1994 (pets didn't have modern conveniences as they do today, nor did humans have as much information available about external parasites).

The cats were indoors only (apartment life) until the one day I got the bright idea to take Buster (my squishy brown tabby cat) out on a leash. To avoid dragging him down the sidewalk, I carried him into the yard and placed him on the grass. About 15 minutes later, he stood up, took a few steps toward a bush and sat down again. This went on for several days, until eventually, I surrendered and plopped down in the grass beside him. And though I can't remember what we talked about, I'm sure it was life-altering (Buster was my soul cat for 16 years).

Did you know she had a soul cat for 16 years?

Anyway, since we hadn't really done anything but sit in the front yard, Buster's occasional but lusty scratching never fazed me. Cats itch sometimes; no big deal (plus he was wearing a flea collar, so there was that).

Two months (and a pet-sitter; my husband and I both had jobs that required weekly out-of-town commutes) later...


Back in those days, I'm not sure I even considered fleas laid eggs, much less that if left alone, in an environment where hiding is easy and food aplenty, they'd multiply in droves. But multiply in droves they did. The first clue was the pets' constant scratching. (Honestly, even in my realization that they had fleas, I didn't consider that the fleas might also be lurking elsewhere in our home. I thought fleas couldn't survive off their host. No Google back then, remember?) The second, was the visual of the bugs themselves, fleeing through the short hairs on the dog's face, for example. No biggie, though. We'd just replace all the flea collars and give everybody a dusting with flea powder. It was the only remedy we knew.

It wasn't until the third clue--waking up in the morning with (our human) feet and ankles covered in itchy red bumps--that we suspected we had a serious problem. There was nothing that could have prepared us, however, for what happened next: not only seeing the fleas (like coarse black pepper grounds), pinging off our socked feet as we sat on the couch, but discovering about a million* more of them teeming (like a malignant, alien entity) in the carpet underneath the catch-all basket beside our front door.

*Conservative estimate.

RAID!!!!! (Is what I screamed in panic; the ant killer under the kitchen sink was our only defense.)

I need to throw up. 


So, the good news is that the teeming blob died. It was disgusting (and yet satisfying, in a sick way). I waited until it dried and then vacuumed it (placing the disposable vacuum bag outside in the dumpster). The bad news? The pets still had fleas and my husband and I were still getting bitten while sitting on the couch after work.

We'd received a hard education in fleas, one could say: learning about their lifecycle, prevention (which back then, for pets, was mostly abstaining from the outdoors), and control (hint: not a can of ant killer).


To make a longer story short, we ended up setting off multiple flea bombs in the house (after we'd safely loaded our fleabag pets into the car and taken them away for a couple days). And oh yeah, while we were away, all of them got dipped in a flea-killing bath (it makes me queasy to think about those poor, miserable animals to this day).

All that misery (and a squillion dead fleas), simply because ONE* flea hitched a ride into the house, ate lunch at the fur cafe, and replicated into an army (under the shelter of an unassuming basket).

* Though it takes two fleas to "tango," a mated female could get onto one's home and start the cycle all by herself. More likely, though, is that one's pet brings more than one flea into the home (and the majority go undetected under the fur). Flea populations are distributed with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults. That means that in a population of (let's say) 40 adult fleas, there will also be 80 pupae (cocoons), 280 larvae, and 400 eggs hiding in the home (on/in nearly every conceivable surface). GROSS!

Five seconds later...

Y'all, I cannot believe how far science has come since 1994! Can you imagine still living with our pets (and fleas and ticks) that way?! UGH! NO!


* BRAVECTO kills fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks.

As I mentioned in my previous parasite (mostly tick)-centered post (hint: the tick was on ME), I'd never heard of BRAVECTO until a couple months ago. I already used a monthly (when I remembered to reapply it on time) flea/tick topical preventative on the dogs, so heaven to Buster (may his flea-free self RIP), was I excited to learn there was another, much easier way! (They can eat the preventative and it lasts up to three times as long as before. Only four doses cover the whole year! And on top of that, BRAVECTO sends email and text messages--in addition to providing the calendar stickers that I forget to look at--to make sure I don't miss the next dose.)

Corgi sniffing box of Bravecto

Guess what? I got a chew for foster dog Lele (vet initiated, without my even asking; there's a story, but I'll save it for later). And, I've already confirmed with Jon Farleigh and Dewi's vet that they have the product in stock (will purchase at their wellness visits, coming in a few days).

Chihuahua eyeing a box of Bravecto

I will NEVER (I know I'm not supposed to use that word lightly, but I mean it) have another flea-infested house, or pet! And ticks? Kill them all! Yay!

BRAVECTO is FDA approved and available only from a veterinarian or clinic. Ask your dog's veterinarian about it today. (Locate a veterinarian or clinic that carries BRAVECTO.)

Money-saving tip: Register at My Pet Rewards for deals, such as cash rebates!

For the latest news and promotions, follow BRAVECTO on social: Facebook | Twitter

Have you ever experienced a flea infestation? Did you know immature fleas hide in dark places and outnumber adult fleas 9:1? (And that doesn't include eggs.) Gross!

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information published. However, it remains the responsibility of the readers to familiarize themselves with the product information contained on the USA product label or package. More product information is available here:

For now...


  1. That sounds like a great product. Angel Hercule and Angel Isis, despite a their pedigree, got fleas. Persians cats with fleas is a nightmare. There were Lord of the Rings legions of fleas in the house too. Claire gave Angel Hercule and Angel Isis a good bath (yuck !) and then flea treatment for a few weeks, until adults fleas were all dead. Then she took the kitties out of the house, and lit a kind of insecticid bomb she had bought at the drugstore (she had to sign and prove her identity to get it). It killed everything, even fleas eggs. She spend the whole day at a friend's and came back in the evening. End of the problem. Purrs

  2. Sounds like a good product. We have been focusing on all natural flea and tick control since Ty has cancer. So far so good, but the summer is still young....

  3. Your story is horrifying buy very, very effective. Living in New York City, I am CONSTANTLY paranoid about all sorts of pests. (At least Henry tries to help catch the roaches) We currently use a topical flea/tick product but a chew sounds SO much easier! Thanks for sharing that story and helping me laugh — I definitely understand the sick pleasure of killing a hoard of ickies!

  4. My dog is on Bravecto. In fact, when I got him he was covered in fleas .. so badly he had rubbed the fur off his rump. It's one of the reasons I took him. Yup, just walked out the door with him and didn't return. He's mine now. Flea free.

  5. I have had the pleasure of flea infestation. They would land on my hand as I typed. I would use a Vaseline covered flea comb to help rid them. Many products did not work so well. My current dog does not appear to attract them. This sounds like a good option.

  6. Your story gave me the icky crawlies! (And you're hilarious, btw.) We also use Bravecto with our dog. Easy peasy and done!

  7. Great post and thankfully no fleas have ever dared to enter our lives! I got BRAVECTO two months ago and haven't seen a flea or tick since. We love it, and Mom has confirmed we are switching permanently. Love it!

  8. Oh ICK. I had no idea of all the numbers possible through ONE flea. I've never treated Bear, but since he escapes outside occasionally, now I'm wondering if I want to take the chance of one flea ending up in just the right spot at the right time. YUCK time infinity, plus a few more for good measure :)

  9. Would you believe the very same thing happened to us. After years of indoor living in an apartment, we moved to the burbs and I decided to take Rosie (cat) out on a leash into the new backyard. Thought she should experience some grass, but instead we got fleas. It was horrible and hope never to go through that again.

    Hurray for chewables! I never liked all those chemical treatments.

  10. Hahaha, your pictures make me smile!! So adorable!!
    Gosh, fleas! I have to knock on wood, but I have never had them (up until now!)!
    I use spot on liquids to prevent fleas and ticks. But you just can never be sure! I'm so sorry you had to go through that!!

  11. Prevention is the key. I remember the horrible sprays and bombs of the past too. Yuck!

  12. Your experience is so relatable, been through a similar circumstance myself. Not fun! I keep my dog on a preventative year round, not taking any chances.

  13. Fleas. are. the. worst. We had a really bad flea infestation a few years ago - got it the same way you got yours - took one of our inside cats out on a leash. It was awful - fleas everywhere! Gave all 5 cats baths (that was hell in and of itself), had to treat the carpet, furniture, bedding, EVERYTHING, gave the cats a dusting of diatomaceous earth and Capstar, vacuumed a million times a day.... anyway, we finally won the War on Fleas. Once you get an infestation, it is so hard to get rid of! Bravecto sounds like a great preventative - love that it works for 3 months. Wonder if they have it for cats? Will look into it.

    1. Ugh, that might even be worse than my experience. :( No BRAVECTO for cats, unfortunately. Maybe they're working on it.

  14. Uuuugh, fleas are definitely one of the worst experiences for pets and pet parents. One of our previous rescues nearly died when the negligent owner sprayed the actual kitten with raid.

  15. OMG I didn't realize Kilo could be bringing in ticks from the grass outside- that is so GROSS. I apply a topical when I remember but these chewables sound more practical form me. Looking for a new vet.

  16. I too have lived through the misery of being in a home infested with fleas. Those little pests can leave you with a ton of itchy bites in no time flat. I'm glad that parasite preventatives are getting so much better! It is great that Bravecto can last pretty much all summer.
    -Purrs from your friends at

  17. That happened to me many years ago. And my cats did not go outside! It pays to be preventative.

  18. I've lived through two different infestations of fleas with two different cats in two different homes and neither went outside.

  19. I grew up with kitties who often brought a summer flea infestation, so I'm a little bit of a nutter in keeping fleas at bay!! When we had show Corgis, flea baths and dipping them was a common occurrence at my house, and I'm glad things have moved away from those days!!

  20. I just cringe and get the itches when I read about fleas and ticks. I am glad you found something that helps out and stops them in their nasty tracks. And your photos and captions, as always: Divine!

  21. Luckily I have never had a flea infestation at my house, and hopefully never will thanks to preventatives! You story sounds awful! I hope I never have to go through it!

  22. That is such a compelling story, and just because it was 1994. Flea infestations happen every day to unsuspecting and unprepared pet parents. Thank DOG we now have bravecto! Excellent post.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  23. I had a flea infestation from hell myself a few years ago while fostering. Never again! I have indoor only cats but still use monthly spot-on treatment. Perhaps they will come up with something like this for cats. FYI - the link at the end of your article for more info doesn't work.

    1. Yes, it would be GREAT to have the same option as this for cats. Sorry about your foster fleas! (I've had those too, but got it under control before it went to hell. ;)
      Not sure what's going on with the link for you, though. It's working for me. I appreciate your saying something, regardless.

  24. Yikes, I'm so glad we have so many options now to keep fleas out of our homes.

  25. Wow! Your "alien entity" is making me itchy! Thankfully, we've never had a flea issue with our Huskies and do use a monthly preventative. Love your pics!


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