April 24, 2008

Cat Diseases From Fleas

Fleas cause many diseases that afflict cats. It is a wise and responsible pet owner who makes the effort to learn about these illnesses. When we’re dealing with health issues we can neither afford to be ignorant nor misinformed. Being informed is a key to making the right choices and decisions for our pets, who are dependent on us.

Most of the time, simple medical conditions worsen because their early symptoms are not recognized. Here are some flea-caused diseases and their symptoms which can help owners determine if their cats need treatment.


Fleas are one of the underlying cause of this disease. It is a condition that can occur if too many fleas feed on the cat. The lessened number of red blood cells lead to a lack of iron. This in turn results to insufficient oxygen supply that the cells need for respiration.

The symptoms to look out for are:

It is advisable to immediately consult your vet if you suspect that your cat has this ailment. Vets can accurately identify the cause through blood sample analysis. Treatments will depend on the results of the test and may include oxygen therapy and blood transfusions.

Feline Infectious Anaemia (FIA)

This ailment is caused by Mycoplasma haemofelis, a species of the bacterial parasite Haemobartonella which attacks the cat’s red blood cells. Infected mothers can pass on the organism to their kittens. FIA may also be transmitted through blood transfusion and cat fights. Fleas and ticks are also known to spread the disease. Once infected, a cat remains a carrier for life.

There are many factors to consider in determining if your cat has FIA. These are the number of infected red blood cells, degree of parasitic infection, and health of the cat. The varied symptoms can include:

Consultation with a vet is strongly recommended when the signs of the disease are present in your pet. Laboratory analysis of blood samples can aid to determine the treatment, which is long-term. For the anaemia symptom, antibiotics and iron supplements are usually prescribed.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)

This dermatologic disease is also known as flea bite hypersensitivity. Cats with this allergy react severely to saliva injected whenever fleas bite. It is a very itchy disease and can lead to secondary skin infections. FAD is most prevalent during summer and in places with warm climates.

Since the presence of fleas may not be apparent in cats with FAD due to excessive grooming, the symptoms to watch out for are:

Vets should be consulted to treat the presence of fleas and to prevent secondary skin diseases. Since the best way for the allergy not to be triggered is to prevent the cat from being bitten by fleas, ask the vet to recommend the best flea preventive medications for your cat.

Abnormal Water Intake

One of the causes of this condition is the Dipylidium caninum, a segmented tapeworm that lives in the small intestines of cats. This parasite is common in environments that are flea infested because fleas, as intermediate hosts, enable the completion of the tapeworm’s life cycle. Flea larvae, in turn, eat the eggs released from the segments which the tapeworms drop off in cat’s feces. A cat, while grooming itself, gets this parasitic tapeworm when it ingests fleas.

Dipylidium caninum grows in the cat’s intestines and feeds off the cat. The symptoms which signal its presence are:

As soon as this condition is noticed a vet must be consulted for immediate treatment. If you have more than one cat, they should also be included in the treatment even if they do not manifest the symptoms because the tapeworm can spread from cat to cat.

Alopecia or Abnormal Hair Loss

Cats lose hair when they are stressed and during lactation. It can also be caused by scratching due to the presence of fleas. However, hair loss may be aggravated by a skin disease called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), a severe reaction to flea bites. A cat with this allergy tends to excessively scratch and lick its skin which leads to hair loss in large parts of its body. Most affected are the flanks, tail and rump.

Cats suffering from Alopecia have:

This condition is not life-threatening but it is still necessary to get a vet’s diagnosis so the underlying cause can be determined. This is needed not only to ascertain the proper treatment for the cat but also to know what precautionary measures should be undertaken by the owner especially since some skin complaints may cross to humans.

Ensuring the safety of our cats from the threats that fleas pose should be one of our primary concerns. At the first sign of illness, it is best to see a vet. It is also essential that our pets have regular check-ups. Likewise, good hygiene practices and regular cleaning of surroundings must be observed to prevent flea infestation.

Diet for Cats with Flea Allergy

Fleas are a real concern for me and my cat. This is due not only for the usual reasons, but also because Ming, my poor feline friend, is afflicted with flea allergic dermatitis. This is an allergic reaction to flea saliva that is released when a flea bites. The saliva has anticoagulants that could cause rashes which a cat will scratch and bite furiously until its skin bleeds.

Not all cats have this type of allergy. Those that react severely to flea bites have hair loss, scabby bumps, itchiness, rashes, and exhibit continuous licking and biting of the skin. The sufferers do not only have a hard time but they are also a pitiful sight. The best way to help cats with flea-bite hypersensitivity is to ensure that they are flea-free.

This is what I am endeavoring to provide my pet. I have already determined the flea medications that work well. Ming and I have also perfected a routine for using them. But, I’m still interested to learn other means to supplement what we have. For Ming’s sake, I have to cover all the bases. So, when I again ticked off our list of must-dos to effectively prevent flea infestation, I realized what I’ve missed giving attention to - my cat’s diet.

With humans, proper nutrition is one major factor which wards off diseases. This is also true for animals. The nutritional values that cats get from a proper diet can greatly boost their immune systems. A stronger immune system makes for a healthy cat. And a healthy cat is better equipped to fight flea infestations. So, I’ve decided to put my cat on a food regimen.

As, I was hunting for recipes that are not only nutritional but delicious as well, I discovered that Brewer’s Yeast and garlic can reduce the presence of fleas in cats. These two natural flea control treatments are harmless to our pets. Here’s a recipe that make use of both these repellents.



1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1-1/2 cups rye flour

1-1/2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon dried kelp or alfalfa

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups chicken broth or beef broth

1 pound ground chicken

1 to 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast

Cooking Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the first six dry ingredients.

3. Add oil, broth and chicken, and mix well.

4. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface then roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.

5. Place dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown.

6. When cooled, break into bite-size pieces.

7. Put pieces in a bag with the brewer’s yeast and shake to coat them.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen pieces.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fleas that Bite Humans

Wouldn’t it be bliss if you and your pet could go frolic outdoors without worrying about fleas just waiting to pounce? If you and your pet no longer would look suspiciously neither at every nook and corner nor in rugs and beddings for their larvae and droppings? That would be ideal but eradicating all fleas is a long way from being a reality. So in the meantime, we must always be careful of these parasites.

Fleas do not harm only animals; they can also cause problems for humans. These parasites target any victim as long as they can feed on them. They can transfer from environment to pet and humans, or from pet to owner, as they are able to jump as high as 16 inches. Once they are on the host’s body, they will then bite to begin their blood meal.

There are three major types of fleas that bite humans:

1. Ctenocephalides felis or cat flea - the most numerous and widespread flea species. It can transmit infections not only to cats but to dogs and humans, too. The most common of these are Bartonella, the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum, and murine typhus.

2. Ctenocephalides canis or dog flea - besides causing itching and unease, dog fleas can transmit several diseases which include tapeworm infection, typhus and tularemia.

3. Pulex irritans or human flea - can also infest cats, dogs, pigs, and other mammals. Infestation of this parasite was once a common occurrence among people but, fortunately, due to the spread of personal hygiene practices it is now seldom found in domestic dwellings.

While fleas are not particular about their hosts, there are some prey who attract more fleas than others. In humans, this could be due to the differences in our chemical makeups, skin secretions, and gas emissions. A person’s level of reaction also determines the frequency of flea bites. Those who have severe allergic reactions get bitten more often than those who are non-allergic.

Fleas tend to bite parts of our body that are more reachable - like feet, ankles and calves. These are also the areas that we frequently leave exposed during summer. Flea bites - tiny red spots which are very itchy - can be the source of various diseases and allergies.

We should always take precautionary measures against flea bites. Of course, the best safeguard is keeping fleas away from our pets and our homes permanently.

April 23, 2008

Fleas Suck!

I’m quite sure most of you are thinking the exact same thing. If I asked you why you thought they sucked, I know you can all give me various reasons that all have their own merit. However, I will ask a somewhat different question: why do fleas suck blood? Specifically, why do fleas need blood?

While some insects bite as a defensive measure against perceived threats, a flea bites in order to feed. Fleas attack a variety of warm-blooded animals including dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, rats - and apparently humans, too. Young flea larvae feed on dead skin cells, mature fleas’ fecal matter, and other debris found on the skin of its host. Adult fleas, on the other hand, need blood for two very important reasons: Female fleas need blood to complete their reproductive cycle; male fleas need blood to grow.

Fleas usually live and breed where pets sleep - on their beds or on the carpet. Those who come near these resting places are also subject to flea attack. Fleas will feed on humans as well as on pets. The usual targets of flea bites are the ankles and the lower portion of the legs.

Avoiding Flea Bites

Flea bites can be avoided by something as simple as regular pet grooming. If you see small black specks on your pet’s skin or fur, this is probably dried blood from flea droppings. Most of the time, these are more obvious than the fleas themselves. If you suspect a flea problem on your pet, run a fine-toothed comb through its fur and flick any debris into a container of soapy water. Flea feces contain blood and will turn the water pink. Once you’re certain there are fleas on your pet, follow the steps listed below:

A Healthy Dog Has No Fleas: 5 Preventive Measures to Avoid Fleas

People love to see their dogs healthy; fleas feel otherwise. There is nothing a flea hates more than a dog in great form. Studies have consistently shown that dogs with a strong immunity system and those that stick to a diet full of nutrients are highly resilient against parasites.

Here are five health boosters you can give your dog to make sure he’s always in tip top shape.


The smell of garlic is repulsive even to people. Just a hint of it is enough to keep fleas away. It also strengthens your dog’s immune system, helping him fight off sickness and infections caused by parasites. It is usually combined with Brewer’s Yeast in supplements to promote healthy skin and coat.

Garlic is also a powerful antioxidant therefore a good addition to an aging pet’s diet. It can also lower the risk for cancer and developing tumors. It will also improve your dog’s blood circulation.

How To Do It:
Only a handful of dogs will eat whole garlic. The best way to add it to his diet is by chopping it into small pieces then sprinkling it over his meal. Or if your dog is a licker and seems to like the taste of garlic, you can blend a few cloves together with a cup of water and make your own garlic juice. You can then spray or brush it on his meals, treats or chew toys.


Just like garlic, vinegar has a smell we would love to avoid. It’s the same with fleas. The good thing about vinegar is not only does it provide a pest-repelling smell, it also makes your dog’s skin acidic, something fleas completely detest. Furthermore, it maintains the shine of his fur.

How To Do It:
Give your dog a sponge bath of vinegar diluted in water. You can also pour a few drops into his drinking water.

Brewer’s Yeast

It is an excellent source of B vitamins which are essential in keeping your dog’s metabolism in check. Brewer’s yeast is a natural flea and tick repellent which also contains thiamine that wards off mosquitoes. It is a natural immunity booster and helps improve your pet’s coat and skin.

How To Do It:
There are a number of Brewer’s Yeast supplements in the market. Dogs generally find it tasty. You can sprinkle it on his food or rub it on his coat.


Sulfur is an important component of every living cell. It helps build tissues, assists in maintaining metabolism and is also essential for healthy skin, coat and joints. Studies have shown that dogs with sulfur deficiency are prone to fleas and other parasite infections.

How To Do It:
Sulfur is generally found in raw meat. Most pet owners make use of processed dog food which doesn’t provide their dog’s daily sulfur needs. It is therefore best to once in a while create a homemade meal for your pet, one that is meat-based. Supplements are also widely available, mostly in powdered form.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are essential for the skin’s well-being, reducing flaking caused by dry skin and inflammation caused by parasites, strengthening the skin and making it resilient against infections. It also gives a shiny and healthy coat. Omega-3 Fatty Acids also improve the immune system and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

How To Do It:
There are a wide variety of supplements to choose from. These come in tablet and liquid forms. Adding fish oil or flaxseed oil to your dog’s diet is a good start.

A healthy dog is not likely to get fleas. Keeping this in mind, we should be watchful of the diet we give our canine friends. A proper diet will not only prevent flea infestation, it will also add quality to their lives.

April 22, 2008

A Sight For Sore Skin: Flea Bites On Humans

The skin is our first layer of protection against the outside world. It covers our entire body and, therefore, is its largest organ. Our skin keeps our bodies in an ideal temperature by determining outside conditions and sending this data to the brain so the entire body can act in accordance. In short, the skin is a vital part of our body. This is why we do everything in our power to protect and maintain it - because it protects and maintains us.

We all want to have blemish-free skin and most of us are well aware of what we should protect our skin from. If you have pets, then it’s a completely different matter. You need to take more precautions since your pet may have fleas and these parasites are hazardous to us because fleas also bite humans. Fleas are your pets’ worst enemy - which make them yours, too.

Now, if you can’t stomach these parasites biting and infesting your pets, I’m sure you wouldn’t want them biting and infesting you. If you think that your pet is a victim of flea infestation, it wouldn’t hurt to check yourself for fleas, too.

What do flea bites look like?

Flea bites on humans usually appear as a red spot accompanied by a halo of redness that can last for several hours depending on ones reaction to it. A flea bite may sometimes cause itching and slight irritation of the skin.


Those with extreme allergies or Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) may sometimes break out into hives and suffer from excessive swelling.

The presence of children in the household is also a reason to be extra careful about flea bites. Children have more sensitive skin and hence can suffer worse symptoms than adults.

How to treat flea bites

Now that you have an idea of what flea bites look like, it is time to get some tips on effectively treating them. To save you from a trip to your doctor, here are a few home remedies for flea bites you may try:

April 21, 2008

The Best Flea Collar For Outdoor Cats

Cat fleas are no joke. They are a major cause of pet disease and hence should be taken seriously. Flea and tick treatment and medication should only be the last resort; flea and tick prevention, the first. One of the best ways to make sure fleas and ticks keep off your beloved cat is through the use of a simple but effective flea collar.

This article aims to help you decide which pet collar is best suited for your active feline friend. First, I just want to say that I am no expert when it comes to pet health. This list is based solely on my humble experiences with my best friend "Slick," the slickest cat of them all. I fervently hope this list will be useful for all cat lovers reading it. Anyway, here goes:

How do you find the best flea collar for outdoor cats?

Of course, all the other obvious reasons apply. Your cat’s flea collar should look good, be durable, and comfortable. You should protect your cat from fleas and ticks — but nobody ever said you couldn’t do it in style.

Do-It-Yourself: 4 Home Remedies for Killing Fleas that You Can Easily Prepare

Fighting fleas is a tough battle. The mere fact that these vampiric parasites reproduce faster than you can say "itchy" presents a real problem to pet owners. It’s like Spartan King Leonidas single-handedly fighting an entire army of Persians. Needless to say, getting rid of fleas is a continuous struggle that requires a lot of time, effort and money.

But money is one of those things that not all pet owners have. So, before shelling out cash for commercialized flea treatments, why not try making your own home remedies for killing fleas?

You need not look far to find the most effective flea treatments. In your home are many ingredients that you can combine to create anti-flea remedies. Unlike other treatments you find in the market, these home remedies for killing fleas are inexpensive, safe, and readily available.

Do-It-Yourself Flea Repellent

You will need:

You can easily make your own natural flea repellent with lemons. First, cut the lemons in half and boil them in water. After letting it steep, pour the solution in a spray bottle. You now have a homemade flea repellent that you can use on your pet.

Spray the solution on your pet’s fur and make sure you don’t miss those areas where fleas love to hide like the base of the tail, behind the ears, and the inner thighs. During application, take good care not to spray some of your citrus flea repellent into your pet’s eyes. In case this happens, wash your pet’s eyes thoroughly with water.

Do-It-Yourself Flea Trap

You will need:

Commercial flea traps can be costly; that’s why it would be more practical for you to make your own. Just fill a basin with water and stir some detergent in it. Once the detergent has been dissolved, put the basin under a gooseneck lamp. Fleas thrive on warm temperature and the heat given off by the lamp bulb will naturally attract them. This will cause the fleas to jump in the water and get trapped.

Do-It-Yourself Flea Wash

You will need:

Fleas absolutely hate the acidic smell and taste of vinegar and these are what makes it one of the most effective home remedies for killing fleas. Simply dilute apple cider vinegar with water and rinse your pet with it. Just like your citrus flea repellent, avoid getting this solution into your pet’s eyes.

Do-It-Yourself Flea Powder

You will need:

If you want a non-toxic flea powder, you can make use of herbs that you can find in your kitchen. First, crush and pulverize these herbs until they become powder-like. Then, mix all the powdered herbs and pour them into a shaker. Sprinkle this homemade herbal flea powder onto the base of your pet’s fur. This is best applied after your pet has taken its bath.

These are just some of the home remedies for killing fleas that you can prepare yourself. The best thing about them is that they are just as effective as other advertised flea treatments but not as expensive. Some of these homemade remedies won’t even cost you a dime! So, if you want a cheaper way to combat those fleas, try these do-it-yourself home remedies first.

April 18, 2008

The Pet Lover Chronicles: 5 Simple Natural Flea & Tick Prevention Tips For Felines

What do you check first when shopping for anti-flea and tick medication?

Me, I check the label first and foremost.


Because I want to know what type of substances my pet is being subjected to. I also make sure that what I am buying is approved by the FDA. I don’t take chances when it comes to my pet.

While checking labels on different products, though, I realized something.

“Harmful or fatal if swallowed.”

“Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing.”

“Harmful if inhaled.”

“This product is toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife.”

“Keep out of children’s reach.”

Each and every product label indicated that the product was hazardous in some way if not handled with the utmost care. This got me thinking: What risks am I taking with regard to my pet’s health in using these products? I realize that there are always risks involved when it comes to medication, but, short of forgoing the use of these products altogether, how do I minimize the risks?

It is next to impossible to turn my back on commercial flea and tick treatment, I know. The next best thing is to keep our distance until the time comes that we need to use them. In the meantime, we should try these methods of natural flea & tick prevention for felines.

Keeping our pets healthy is not always a simple task. These 5 simple tips on natural flea & tick prevention for felines will give you a headstart towards a flea and tick-free future for you and your cat.

April 17, 2008

Get Rid of Fleas through Holistic Treatments: 3 Alternative Ways Your Pets will Love

Holistic-it’s one of those words you often hear when people are referring to the alternative way of dealing with health problems. But there’s more to holistic treatment than just being a substitute for conventional medical approach because they have their own proven benefits. For this reason, more and more of us are turning to them for solutions.

But we are not the only specie who can benefit from this alternative approach. These days, veterinary care already employs some of the most popular holistic methods to help your furry friends. Examples include aromatherapy, massage, and herbology, which are not only effective in healing your pets of diseases but also in ridding them of flea infestation.


Compared to humans, animals have a keener sense of smell. And this is precisely the reason aromatherapy works effectively for them. Some scents affect animals the same way they do humans. One excellent example is the lavender scent, which has a relaxing and calming effect on both humans and their pets. Aside from being a sedative, lavender also works as a natural flea repellent. Other aromatic scents that help get rid of fleas on your pets include eucalyptus, pennyroyal, lemon, cedarwood, and citronella.

So, how do you make use of these scents to get rid of fleas? One way is through candle diffusion. Here’s how:

  1. Allow a candle to burn for about 5 minutes then extinguish it.
  2. Pour a few drops of the essential oil into the melted wax after the light has been put out.
  3. Rekindle the flame. This allows the scent to be diffused in the room.

It is suggested that the candle be placed where your pet frequently hangs out to drive away fleas in the area.


Everyone loves a good massage, including your pets. This holistic treatment is becoming all the rage these days because of its numerous benefits. A massage does not only relieve pain, and reduce anxiety and depression on your pet, but helps get rid of fleas as well. What’s more, giving your animal companion a nice rubdown is proven to foster your bond.

For a good massage, you will need a soft but firm surface and a bottle of flea powder or essential oil. A word of caution about essential oils: don’t use them on cats. Cats cannot metabolize essential oils and are therefore poisonous to them. Moreover, a cat’s thin and delicate skin can easily absorb essential oils into the bloodstream. Dogs, however, have a better tolerance for them.

To prepare your pet for the massage:

  1. Have it lie down on a rug or carpet.
  2. Carefully apply the massage oil or powder on your pet. Make sure you cover all the favorite hiding places of fleas such as the back of the ears and in between paws.
  3. Start with light and slow strokes from the head down to the tail.
  4. Once your pet becomes relaxed, begin rubbing in small, circular patterns using three fingers, and proceed by giving light squeezes.
  5. Conclude your massage session by stroking your pet once again.


The concept of herbology is no longer new. Way before medicines were developed by scientists, our ancestors already used flowers and plants to treat various diseases. However, using plants as medicines never really grew out of fashion. These days, herbal medications are used as inexpensive alternative for treating different health problems in humans and in pets.

Many people are all for the idea of using herbal remedies because they are natural and readily available. Examples include:

Despite being a good alternative to conventional medical approach, holistic treatments should not be considered as an exact science. These methods don’t guarantee positive results all the time so relying on them solely and completely is never a good idea. With that said, keep in mind that consulting a veterinarian is still the best way to go.

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