Fleas aren't just a nuisance!

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Google Maps location for Annandale Animal Hospital

Annandale Animal Hospital
62 Moore Street
Leichhardt
NSW 2040

Phone:
02 9550 9600
Fax:
02 9560 8503

 

Fleas can cause serious skin issues

Fleas can cause severe itching and also other problems such as skin infections and hairloss. Some animals can become allergic to fleas, and flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease of dogs and cats.

Fleas can transmit infections and parasites

Fleas can carry a type of parasite, a tapeworm called Dipylidium caninum that can suck nutrients from the pet’s intestine and cause anal itching.

Fleas can kill

Fleas suck blood and blood loss leads to anemia. A heavy flea burden is lethal, especially to smaller or younger animals.

Common Myths

Even though fleas are the most common parasite in dogs and cats, there are many misconceptions about them. Myths that veterinarians hear about fleas almost every day are:

Myth: My pet cannot have fleas because he lives entirely indoors.
Fact: Fleas thrive particularly well in the well-regulated temperatures in the home.

Myth: My pet cannot have fleas because if there were any fleas they would be biting (insert name of a person in the family reportedly sensitive to flea bites). Since this person is not being bitten, there must not be any fleas.
Fact: Fleas can suck the blood of a wide variety of animals. However, the flea that affects dogs and cats definitely does not prefer human blood and won’t eat it unless absolutely necessary. Humans tend not to be bitten unless flea population numbers are very high.

Myth: We do not have fleas because we only have hard wood floors.
Fact: Fleas love to develop in the cracks between the boards of hard wood floors.

Myth: My pet cannot have fleas because I would see them.
Fact: You cannot expect to see fleas because many animals will lick, groom, and chew after being bitten by a flea. This causes the flea to either jump off the pet or get swallowed.

The Flea Life Cycle

There are four life stages of the flea. For effective flea control, it is important to know how to break this life cycle in more than one place.

The flea life cycle consists of egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. Eggs are laid in the hair coat and are designed to fall off your pet and into your home. Larvae hatch from the eggs and develop in a pet’s environment by feeding on adult flea feces (i.e. digested blood) that fall out of the hair coat of the pet. Larvae eventually spin cocoons, often within carpet fibers, for pupation. Pupae are resistant to freezing, drying, and insecticides, and can lie dormant for many months! New fleas develop from pupae and can begin feeding within hours of finding a dog or cat. The entire flea life cycle can be completed in as little as three weeks.

 

 

Flea Control Strategies

New Products

Today, we have some great flea control products in our arsenal. There are many effective and safe new products to choose from.

Break the Flea Life Cycle

A two-step approach, targeting both the adult flea and the egg or larval flea forms, provides the most rapid control and the least resistance to flea control agents in future flea generations.

Year-round Flea Control

Fleas are also adaptive and the temperature controls how fast the flea completes its lifecycle. If you want to eradicate the flea population in a specific home, it is best to attack when numbers are low in the winter. Stopping flea control products in the winter may make it much harder to gain the upper hand in the spring and summer when the populations are rising.

Rotate Flea Products

Over time, only fleas resistant to an insecticide will survive, and these will reproduce, forming a new population of resistant fleas. Periodically switching to another type of insecticide can be part of an effective flea control program to help reduce developing resistant fleas.

Sadly, fleas are here to stay one way or the other, so we just need to keep on top of controlling them…..

Flea products

 

Type of product

Suitable for

Duration

 

Frontline

Spray

Cats & Dogs

 

Mainly used in small puppies and kittens that are too young for other products

Advocate

Spot on liquid

Cats & Dogs

1 Month

Also treats intestinal worms and heartworm

Advantage

Spot on liquid

Cats & Dogs

1 month

 

Advantix

Spot on liquid

Dogs

1 month

TOXIC to cats – must not use if you have a cat in your house. Also treats ticks

Revolution

Spot on liquid

Cats & Dogs

1 month

Also treats intestinal worms and heartworm

Activyl

Spot on liquid

Cats & Dogs

1 month

 

Comfortis

Chewable tablet

Cats & Dogs

1 month

 

Nexguard

Chewable tablet

Dogs

1 month

Also treats ticks

Nexguard Spectra

Chewable tablet

Dogs

1 month

Also treats ticks, worms and heartworm

Bravecto

Chewable tablet

Dogs

3 months

Also treats ticks

 

 

 

 

 

Last summer we had great success with some of the oral tablets for dogs, and people especially loved the 3 month cover for both fleas and ticks offered by Bravecto. In cats, Activyl was also a favorite with our clients.

Remember, if you have treated your pet and they still have fleas within the time covered, a change of product may be the answer as we have seen some problems of resistance.

Please call reception and talk to one of our nurses if you have any further questions or problems and we will help decide which is the best product for your pet.

 

Environmental control

  • Washing pet bedding in water hotter than 60oC and rinsing in cold water.
  • Vacuuming carpets and floorboards regularly removes some eggs but also stimulates them to hatch so that you can then kill the fleas via the methods discussed below (don’t forget to seal the vacuum bag in an air-tight bag before disposing of it, otherwise the fleas will hatch in the bag and jump out). 
  • Steam cleaning carpet, which kills off larvae as well. 
  • There are commercial flea bombs containing an insect growth regulator which can be used to kill off fleas and flea larvae. Take care if you do use these - all pets should be removed from the premises, they are toxic to fish and birds

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