FLEAS IN DOGS AND CATS
Mice & Fleas What is the Connection?
Despite their diminutive size, if they infest your home, mice are a big pain. Mice cause damage to food, soft furnishings, electronics and other items around the home, and are notoriously difficult and expensive to get rid of. But what connection do they have with fleas?
Fleas are a species of external parasites or endoparasites which survive by feeding on the blood of warm-blooded hosts such as dogs and cats. Causing skin irritation, discomfort, hair-loss and in severe cases, anemia, as well as carrying the risk of transmitting tapeworm to your pet, an adult flea is just a few millimeters in length but can cause numerous problems.
Flea infestations can be a nightmare to deal with. At first sighting of a flea on your dog or cat, you might run out to buy some flea shampoo and wash those nasty little parasites off your pet. All seems to be well, but just days later your furry friend is again overrun with fleas.
Despite their diminutive size, fleas are perhaps one of the most irritating and tricky to control of all external parasites. These fast-breeding, wingless insects feed on the blood of dogs and cats (and sometimes humans), causing discomfort and secondary skin infections, as well as increasing the risk of certain diseases.
A good friend of mine recently adopted her first pet dog - a puppy from our local animal shelter. The young Labrador, whom she has christened Bertie, is a boisterous fellow who can't get enough affection and loves to play outdoors. Susie, my friend and Bertie?s human called me last night, sounding rather upset.
Does your cat keep scratching itself? Is your dog always biting at his tail? Take a look at your pet's skin and if you see tiny flecks of a black substance in the fur, this is a sign that he or she may be infested with fleas...
For your pet dog, fleas are more than a blood-sucking parasite: they are a real irritation. A single flea can bite its host several hundred times each day, with each bite-spot feeling itchy and sore. A dog's natural reaction is to groom or nibble to soothe the scratch...
Have you discovered fleas on your cat for the first time and don't know what to do about it? Have you been unsuccessfully trying to deal with a flea infestation in your home and you don't know what to do next?
An integrated flea control program will be most effective in controlling fleas on the animal and in the environment.
Practices such as frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets, washing the pet's bedding and combing the pet frequently, as well as mowing grass, trimming shrubs and weeding the garden will greatly aid in reducing the flea population.
Lufeneron is an oral injectable medication for dogs and cats which interferes with the development of juvenile fleas, leading to their death. Program and Sentinel use the drug to break the life cycle of the flea at the egg stage and safely control flea populations on pets.
Imidacloprid, an active ingredient in Bayer's Advantage , is a selective nervous stimulant in insects. Imidacloprid causes overstimulation of the flea's nervous system, causing a spastic paralysis and then death. It is a safe and effective topical product for the control of fleas in cats and dogs.
Fipronil is the chemical contained in Frontline Top Spot , Frontline Plus and Frontline Spray.
Fipronil causes hyperstimulation of the flea's nervous system, causing a spastic paralysis and resulting in death. In Frontline Plus, it is combined with methprene, which prevents juvenile stages from maturing to adults.
There are a large number of flea control products on the market, including products for the environment such as flea bombs, powders and sprays, plus flea collars and everything from topical liquids to tablets to powders and shampoos.
Flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD, is a very common disease in pets caused by an allergy to the saliva injected into the pet when the flea feeds.
Fleas can sometimes be seen jumping on your pet, but in many cases, the only signs of fleas on animals are scratching, licking and the presence of brownish 'flea dirt' in the pet's coat.
Fleas pass through a four-stage life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult. They undergo a metamorphosis just like caterpillars turning into butterflies, though adult fleas are less attractive than butterflies and much more annoying.
Fleas are parasitic insects which are found all over the world. They feed on the blood of cats, dogs and other animals, including humans.
Fleas in cats and dogs are normally one of two species, either Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea, or Ctenocephalides canis, the dog flea. However neither is host specific, and while the cat flea can infest dogs and vice versa, both can infest humans.
Fleas are external parasites which affect many animals, causing itching, allergies or even transmitting tapeworms. Whilst the adults are found on pets, the eggs and immature stages of fleas are found in the environment.
Effective flea control requires an integrated approach.
To get effective flea control, the fleas need to be targeted at each and every stage of their life-cycle. The flea life-cycle has 4 components. Adult fleas on the animal lay eggs which then fall into the environment and hatch into larvae. The larvae then develop into pupae, which ultimately emerges as an adult flea. Adult fleas live on the animal and grow by feeding on the animal?s blood. This stage is the stage most people readily see. However, only about 5% of the flea population is in the adult stage. This means that up to 95% of the flea problem lies in the other unseen stages. These stages are not developing on the animal, but rather in the environment in which the animal resides.
Flea control for cats requires a strict integrated approach involving treating the affected cat, all in contact animals and the environment. Failure to address all these areas may lead to a failure to achieve adequate flea control for your cat.
Adult fleas are not host specific and therefore live on many different animals. Whilst the adult fleas live on the actual animal feeding on its host's blood, the eggs fall into the environment where they hatch and develop through several stages into adults ready to re-infest any animals in the area. Figures suggest that only 5% of the potential flea population in an area is comprised of adult fleas on the animal with the remaining 95% represented by the immature forms developing in the environment. Hence the need for an integrated approach to flea control.