Fleas are small, brown or black, wingless, rapid-moving insects that feed on blood by biting pets and, occasionally, people. They can cause anemia, allergies and severe itching. Intense itching and chewing at the skin can lead to damage and secondary bacterial infection. Significant numbers of fleas can cause life threatening blood loss to young, elderly or debilitated pets.
If a pet ingests a flea during grooming, he or she could become infected with immature tapeworms that can be carried by fleas.
The adult flea has a life span of up to one year. Its life cycle consists of: egg, larva, nymph, pupa and adult. Females may lay dozens of eggs daily, which can hatch quickly into larvae or remain in the environment for months. Flea eggs are resistant to many cleaners and flea control products. Larvae develop into pupae that can remain dormant for extended periods in the right conditions before emerging as adults.
Complete flea control consists of treating both the environment (including house and yard) and the pet. Ideally, fleas should be killed before they feed on the pet to reduce the potential for skin allergies and other health problems.
- Veterinarians carry safe flea control for your pet like FirstShield Trio and Comfortis for dogs or FirstShield for Cats and Kittens and Revolution for cats.
- Yard spray and house treatments kill fleas in your pet’s environment, talk to your veterinarian on which products are safe and work well.
- Use all products as directed. Always read the labels.
- All dogs and cats in the household must be treated to give the best chance for proper flea control.
If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.