Fleas

by / Saturday, 16 November 2013 / Published in News Archive, Small Animals
flea-cycle
flea Flea infestations can be annoying for both dogs and cats. Problems caused by fleas may range from mild to severe itching and discomfort to skin problems and infections, in extreme circumstances anaemia may also result from flea bites. When dogs are troubled by fleas they scratch and bite themselves, especially in areas such as head, heck and around the tail as fleas normally concentrate in these areas. Incessant scratching and biting will cause the dogs skin to become red and inflamed.

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is developed by those dogs allergic to flea saliva. In this case the symptoms previously mentioned are more pronounced. Because of compulsive scratching and biting the dog may loose hair resulting in bald patches, exhibit hot spots due to extreme irritation and develop infections that result in smelly skin.

The answer to all these problems is to keep your pet’s flea treatment up to date with a reputable brand recommended by your veterinarian.

A flea’s life cycle has 4 stages and by understanding this cycle it’s easy to see why it is so important to keep your pet up to date with their flea preventative treatment. It also explains why washes and single treatments don’t work in the long run. You may manage to kill the existing fleas on your pet but there are still the eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment around them and it only takes a few of those hatching adult fleas to jump straight back onto your pet and start producing the next lot of troublesome offspring.

  1. The adult flea feeds on the host’s (your dog or cat) blood, once gorged the females will start laying many eggs that fall from the coat into the environment.
  2. Two days later the eggs hatch releasing a larva (grub that feed on the flea dirt (flea poo) and debris in the environment). The larva takes 2 weeks to reach its full growth.
  3. The larva now forms a sticky cocoon (pupa) that later hatches to release an adult flea. Pupae can hatch after 5-10 days but will remain dormant for months waiting for ideal conditions such as temperature, humidity and presence of a host
  4. The new adult flea immediately finds a host, which may be your pet, to repeat the whole process once again.
flea-cycle

With this in mind it’s easy to see the need for regular preventatives remembering that not all treatments are the same. Your vet will advise you on the best one for you and your pet’s particular lifestyle i.e. dogs that swim a lot, farm dogs, dogs and cats that are difficult to pill etc.

Keeping your pets bedding washed, kennels and yards cleaned regularly also plays an important role in breaking the fleas life cycle and keeping on top of flea prevention.

 

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