It’s that time again. From now until there’s a good hard frost, probably in December, fleas will be everywhere in the environment, waiting to torment your pet.
Please call us and seek veterinary advice for flea infestation, as we have seen serious side effects from several of the products available on the shelves of pet stores. Cats particularly are easily poisoned by some of these products.
Flea Life Cycle:
In mid-August, flea eggs start to hatch. After about 2-4 weeks, during which time they go through three larval stages, the fleas are adults and start looking for a pet host to provide a blood meal. The female flea must bite your pet and take a blood meal in order to produce eggs. These eggs are produced in the hundreds and drop off in your pet’s bedding, in your home and yard, and in the park. There they hatch and start the lifecycle over again, all throughout the fourth month flea season. During her lifetime a single female flea may lay 5,000 eggs. Even if your pet has never had fleas before, they can easily be picked up in the park if another animal is shedding eggs. If your pet is an indoor cat and never goes outside, flea eggs can still be brought into your home on shoes, or from a visitor who has a pet with a flea infestation, even if the pet itself doesn’t visit. Flea eggs spend the winter pretty much anywhere they won’t freeze: carpets, floorboards and baseboards, attached garages, etc. Because we had a warm winter last year, it’s likely that a large number of eggs survived.
Symptoms of a flea infestation include intense itchiness, flaking or scabbing of the skin, and/or hair loss, especially over the base of the tail. Overweight or elderly animals that cannot reach their backs to scratch may chew savagely on their front legs in frustration.
How to Test for Fleas:
If you see your cat or dog exhibiting any of the above signs, put them on a white piece of paper and vigorously ruffle the coat, especially over the base of the tail. If fleas are present, you will see what looks like salt and pepper on the paper–this may be flea stool and eggs. Put a few drops of water on the specks. If the specks appear to turn into small blood drops, your pet has fleas. If your pet is not already using a flea preventative product, we recommend you do this test weekly during flea season.
What to Do:
If you find your pet has fleas, we have excellent products that kill the fleas and prevent and remove infestations of your home. Again: Please call us and seek veterinary advice for flea infestation, as we have seen serious side effects from several of the products available on the shelves of pet stores. Cats particularly are easily poisoned by some of these products.