It’s flea season again! Although in Texas, sometimes its flea season all year long. Yuck! We wanted to make sure everyone understands fleas, their life cycle, and what we can do to prevent/ control them.
First off, fleas can be deadly, especially in smaller, younger, and older pets. They suck blood from our pets and can transmit/ cause a host of illness’ which can be life-threatening.
They can cause:
-Flea anemia (they suck blood)
-Flea Allergic Dermatitis (causing our pets to itch constantly)
-Feline Infectious Anemia (Infection spread by fleas)
-Cat Scratch Fever/ Bartonellosis (doesn’t affect pets but makes people sick)
Some myths that we hear daily:
-“My pet cannot have fleas because they live entirely indoors” – Fleas love the regulated temperatures of indoor life
-“My pet cannot have fleas because I have not been bitten” – Fleas do not like human blood and won’t eat it unless absolutely necessary. This usually occurs only when flea populations are very high.
-“We cannot have fleas because we have hardwood floors” – Fleas love to develop in the cracks between boards and at baseboards.
-“I haven’t seen any fleas so my pet can’t have them” – Fleas are sometimes hard to find, especially if there are low numbers, the pet has long or thick hair, or the pet grooms constantly.
The life cycle from egg to adult takes about 3 weeks and an adult flea lives approximately 4-6 weeks. The 4 life stages are:
1. Egg – found in the environment. The adult female lays up to 40 eggs a day. These eggs fall off the pet to the ground. Think of your pet has a large salt shaker. Every time they move they shake the eggs off.
2. Larvae – these are like tiny caterpillars crawling around. They migrate to shaded areas as they are killed off at 95 degrees.
3. Pupae – The larvae form a cocoon that is nearly invincible and cannot be killed. This stage can remain dormant for up to a year as it waits for the right time to emerge!
4. Adult flea – This is the stage we find on our pets. The female flea begins to produce eggs 24-48 hours after its first blood meal
What can we do??
There are a lot of products out on the market for our pets that are very useful and effective. In our area, it is best to use these products year round. The fleas are weaker during the cooler months and it is easier to decrease their populations. Don’t let your guard down!
The products we are carrying at this time are:
–Comfortis – this is for dogs only and is a pill that is given monthly. It kills a flea within a few hours! This is a quicker kill than most topicals and prevents a female flea from laying eggs that contaminate the environment as it takes 24-48 hours after her first meal before she produces an egg. We have had wonderful success with this product and highly recommend it when possible.
–Trifexis: This is also for dogs only. This is a heartworm prevention with Comfortis in it.
–Revolution: This is a topical that can be used with dogs and cats. It is a heartworm prevention, dewormer and kills fleas. We recommend it highly for cats
–Frontline Plus: This is a topical that can be used with dogs and cats. The Plus part is a growth regulator that sterilizes the female flea and prevents her from laying viable eggs. We are in the process of phasing this out of our in-house inventory, but you can purchase is from our online pharmacy.
There are a host of other products out there, so let us know if you have any questions. Many of these can be purchased on our online pharmacy.
Lastly, don’t forget about the stages that are not on the pet (eggs, larvae, pupae). These are all in the environment. Vacuum regularly, especially under furniture and at the baseboards. There are a lot of sprays you can use but be careful as they can be harmful to pets. Read the package carefully! Call your local exterminator for professional help. They usually will have a guarantee.
Feel free to call us if you have any questions.