Fleas! Fleas! Fleas!

0 Comments Posted by admin in Pet Care on Thursday, August 30th, 2012.

 

 

            It seems that these past few weeks of August have been challenging for many of our clients and their furry friends battling fleas. The hot, dry weather has been the perfect condition for fleas-and unfortunately, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Fleas can enter your home in many ways, even if your pet is rarely outside. They have the ability to jump-and can even jump in through open windows, or hitch a ride in on your clothes. They’ll make themselves right at home, in your home…ALL year round.

            Many people may not even notice if their pets have fleas. Some dogs and cats itch here and there, while others bite and itch furiously and even lose their hair. This is because not all animals are allergic to flea bites. When a flea takes a blood meal, it deposits a small amount of saliva, and it’s the saliva that causes an allergic reaction.

            These pesky little bugs have been around forever- so if you find yourself facing a flea problem- you must first understand the life cycle. From egg to larva to adult is typically between three and six weeks. To get rid of fleas, you must break this life cycle. Eggs laid on your pet are shed onto its bedding and your carpet, and a pair of fleas can produce 20,000 fleas in just three months! Eggs typically hatch in 2-12 days into larvae. These larvae can pretty much live off of anything-even clean carpet offers plenty of food required at this stage. The larvae then spin a cocoon in which they can remain in for one week, up until one year. This cocoon stage is just short of bullet proof. Insecticides and even freezing temperatures won’t harm a flea in this stage. This is why they are so very difficult to get rid of. Only warmth and the presence of a host will cause them to emerge as an adult flea.

            So, now that you have the basics, you need to get on top of flea control. Here at The Yancey Clinic of Veterinary Medicine, we recommend keeping your cat or dog on flea preventative year round. Not only can fleas survive and make your pet miserable during the winter months, but they also are the intermediate host of tapeworms.  Any flea carrying a tapeworm egg can easily be ingested by your pet by simple grooming, and can cause your pet to become infected with intestinal parasites. Generally, to break the life cycle of the flea, you will need to treat your pet for a minimum of three months in a row. It is very important that you use a flea preventative prescribed by a Veterinarian. There a many products out there and not all of them work effectively. Your Veterinarian will have quality products, and can recommend the one that works best for your pet and your life style. Another important thing to remember is that you must treat ALL pets in your household. Just because Max is itching and Fluffy is not, doesn’t mean Fluffy doesn’t have fleas. The fleas will simply just go back and forth from pet to pet if both of them are not treated. And yes- this also includes any outdoor animals, such a stray cat you are feeding!

            Battling fleas is like battling a small army. If you follow these guidelines, your home and your pets will be happy and flea free! If you find yourself struggling to beat these little pests, please give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help you out!

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