Good flea control plays an important role in ensuring your pet’s welfare. Flea bites cause irritation and discomfort and in some allergic animals, more severe skin disease. In large numbers, fleas can even cause anaemia – 70 fleas can cause a loss of 1ml of blood per day!
How can I tell if my pet has fleas?
- You may notice your pet scratching a lot
- You may see the fleas yourself
- You may notice black specks in the fur.
This “flea dirt” is actually flea faeces. Try using a fine-tooth comb and wiping the debris onto a damp tissue. Flea faeces, which contains blood, will stain the paper red.
The itchiness caused by flea bites may lead your pet to grooming excessively, which can lead to hair loss and sore, damaged skin.
Flea Allergic Dermatitis
Some Pets are allergic to flea saliva. It may only take one or two bites to set off a skin reaction. You may notice lots of small bumps and scabs over your pet’s skin and hair loss from excessive licking. Such animals are usually intensely itchy.
How Can Fleas Be Controlled?
In order to achieve good flea control, it helps to understand their life cycle.
Adult fleas live on your pet and lay eggs in the fur. The eggs drop to the ground. The larvae hatch out in your carpet and feed on skin flakes and flea dirt. They spin themselves a cocoon which they camouflage with debris from the environment.
The adult fleas hatch out when they sense a host nearby, they feed on your pet and the cycle repeats itself.
Hence, it is as important to control infestation of the environment as it is to kill the adult fleas on your pet. For allergic animals, environmental control is even more important, as is using a product that kills fleas before they have a chance to bite the animal.
At Bicester Vets, we recommend the use of a particular spot-on treatment for cats and dogs which is applied to the skin on the back of the neck. This product attacks both the adult and larval life stages and so controls infestation of the environment as well as your pet. Some spot-on treatments only kill the fleas when they bite; however, this particular product kills on contact.
Where your pet has an active infestation, it is a good idea to buy a household flea spray in order to eliminate the larvae found in carpets and bedding. All pets in the household should be treated if the fleas are to be eliminated.
Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to advise you on good flea control.