Fleas are external blood sucking parasites that live in the coat of cats, dogs and other furry animals. They are quick and agile little dark brownish bugs, one to two millimeters long that cause big problems.
Fleas are active during the warmer seasons, but can live indoors or on the pet all year around. Infestation cases are very commonly seen in the fall. They spend most of their lives on the animal but can survive for some time in a warm moist environment, such as protected yard areas, basements, carpets, in and under furniture and beddings.
Animals acquire fleas from other infested animals or when they visit infested areas. It is also possible for fleas to enter the house with a human on close or objects. Fleas multiply quickly and feed on the host blood, creating multiple bite wounds. The bites are very irritating and itchy, and often induce severe and disruptive allergic reaction. Some animals will develop serious bacterial skin infections. Heavily infested young puppies and kittens can become severely anemic due to blood loss. People too can be affected and suffer from fleabite wounds.
The best way to address the problem is to prevent it. Preventative products should be used between May and December or year around. Safe and effective products are available at your veterinarian. Caution should be taken in using over the counter products due to ineffectiveness and toxicity in some cases.
Flea infested pets should be treated by the veterinarian, who will address the household situation and any medical complications. Fleas are also responsible for tapeworms in animals and people. Tapeworms should be treated in conjunction with Flea eradication.
People can acquire diseases from fleas such as cat scratch disease.[Back]