What do they look like and where do they live?
- They are small, wingless insects, approximately one-eighth of an inch, with back legs that are modified for jumping
- The majority of the fleas’ life cycle occurs off the animal
- Adult fleas feed on blood
- Eggs are laid on the animal but fall into the environment, for instance pets’ bedding or in the carpet
- Only 5% of flea population is on the animal – i.e. 95% in the environment
How can my pet contract fleas?
- Fleas can pass from one infected animal to another
- In heavy burdens, you may need to treat environmental stages, or fleas will continue to emerge and be seen to land on pets; this emergence of fleas can occur for several months
- When treating the environment it is important to treat all areas that the pet goes. This may include the car
How will this parasite affect my pet?
- Fleas will bite cats, dogs and rabbits
- Fleas can cause Flea Bite Dermatitis by irritating the skin of the animal
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) is caused by an allergy to flea saliva
- A very heavy infestation particularly in small animals i.e. kittens and puppies can lead to anaemia
- Fleas can also be responsible for the transmission of viral and bacterial disease as well as Tapeworms
Can this parasite affect my health?
- Fleas will bite people as well as cats, dogs and rabbits
How do I treat fleas?
- There are many topical and oral preparations available to treat fleas.
- Please be aware that many of the over-the-counter non-veterinary preparations are completely ineffective and a waste of money. They often do not contain appropriate active ingredient to kill the fleas and we regularly have complaints from customers who have bought pet-shop or supermarket products and been disappointed with the results.
- We as vets are best qualified to give you advice on the most appropriate treatment for your pet and effective Veterinary products are often less expensive than the over-the-counter products!
- As stated above, 95% of the flea population actually lives OFF the animal so it is very important that you treat the environment effectively at the same time as treating the animal or your pet will just become re-infested!