Kingtonist’s Wizard of Paws: Reader question regarding flea treatment

Dr. Ryan Llera with Poppy, who is currently available for adoption from Support Wolfe Island Friends of Ferals. Anyone interested should contact Sarah at Kingston Veterinary Clinic.

In this post, I’ll be addressing a question I received from a reader.

Hi. I’m curious about the drops for fleas. Is there anywhere I could get this without paying an exam fee just to get them? If not, then I’m curious why. Because my cats are going to be uncomfortable with the fleas, but I’m not paying over $100 for drops, since that’s what it would end up being.



Hi Cathy and thanks for your question. While there may be over the counter flea products available, most veterinarians do not recommend them for multiple reasons, including efficacy and safety. The flea products available through your veterinarian have been proven to be generally more reliable and safer (though a rare occurrence of adverse effects can happen with anything), which is why we recommend them. Regarding having to get them through your veterinarian office and therefore paying an exam fee, this is actually a requirement from our licensing body, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO). For your veterinarian to administer, prescribe, or dispense any drug, a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) must exist, and an assessment of the patient must be done. Any flea treatment counts as a drug. Part of the requirement of the VCPR is defined as the veterinarian “having recent and sufficient knowledge of an animal or group of animals.” This is done for your pets’ safety as well protecting your veterinarian from the liability of dispensing a product to a potentially ill pet, or one that may have multiple problems.

A common guideline for many veterinarians is that pets have at one exam yearly. This makes great sense as our human doctors recommend an annual exam, so do we as veterinarians for your pets, especially since they age faster and some problems can be detected before your pet shows clinical signs. A last note regarding fleas: Treatment should be carried out for three to four months to make sure the entire flea life cycle is addressed. I hope that answers your question, and I hope your cats are in good health,

Dr. Ryan Lleara

If there’s something you’ve often wondered or questions you have about regarding pets, let us know by email at [email protected].

*Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian.


Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can find more of his writing at, or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion, and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.


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