Dealing with Fleas
A daily experience for us during spring is to see suddenly itchy dogs and cats and all too often fleas are part of the problem.
During every consultation our vets ask pet owners about fleas and almost always get the same answer. “I've never really seen a flea on Fluffy so I didn't think I needed to treat her”.
Fleas are everywhere! We are really lucky in South Australia that we don't have heavy numbers of them but that doesn't mean we can ignore them altogether. They are tiny, and if your pet only has 30 or so you probably won't see them - it's only once your pet has hundreds that you will start to see them running around. The scary thing about seeing a hundred fleas on your pet is that it means there are a million eggs in your home that are going to live there for up to 6 months, slowly hatching and biting everyone in the house!
The best way to make sure you don't get caught in this cycle is to stop the fleas before your pet gets infected. The market for flea prevention products is huge and can be confusing because each brand works in a different way and often does different things. Generally, there are products that prevent only fleas, or there are combination products. Both of these types come in oral forms or spot on liquids.
As always, talk to your vet about what product is right for you pet. Some dog preparations are toxic to cats and a lot of brands are not as effective as you would expect them to be. You could even find yourself over-treating your pet for heart and intestinal worms.
Another common flea misconception is that they are harmless other than bites. In cat’s fleas transmit a number of nasty infections, some of which are implicated in human health problems as well. The bites are also painful and annoying and apart from scratching, your pet can't tell you it's in pain.
If all that isn't enough to make you prevent fleas, 60% of Australians admit to letting their pet on the bed which means a whole bunch of you have flea larvae living in your mattress!
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