There are two ways to approach fleas; either do nothing in the hope that your pet does not come into contact with them, or ensure your pet is on an efficient flea control programme.
Flea infestation once established is both very difficult and expensive to treat - often dragging on for weeks or even months at a time.
Some basic facts about fleas
- Your pet does not need to come into direct contact with another animal in order to become infested.
- Your pet can pick up fleas from rabbits, hedgehogs, dogs, cats etc or areas where an infested animal has been recently.
- Fleas will bite humans.
- Fleas live on your pet but lay hundreds of eggs in your carpets and bedding. It therefore becomes necessary to treat all animals in the house as well as using an insecticide on the house itself in order to eliminate an infestation.
- Some animals have allergies to fleas resulting in a condition called flea allergic dermatitis. This disease causes intense pruritis (itching), hair loss and often secondary skin infection necessitating veterinary treatment.
- Fleas carry the intermediate life stage of certain tapeworms so if ingested during grooming your pet is also much more likely to develop a worm infestation.
- The underlying problem is not the occasional flea your pet picks up outside, but the hundreds of eggs this flea lays in your house which will hatch out resulting in a serious problem.
How to treat and prevent flea infestations?
It is preferable to control and prevent flea infestations in the first place rather than have to cope with a full-blown flea explosion at the end of summer.
If fleas are already present, then it is vital to treat all cats and dogs in the house as well as making sure that any regular canine or feline visitors to your house are also flea-free. If not, you could be spending money on flea prevention methods while another animal is regularly bringing fleas into the house. This is especially true where people feed stray cats inside their houses.
Secondly, you will need to treat the house at the same time (using an effective product) in order to kill off any eggs that are lying in the carpets and furnishings just waiting to hatch out. If your pets have no evidence of fleas then it is simply a case of getting them started on a regular flea prevention program, there should never be the need to treat the house in this case. A vital part of any flea control program is regular worming with an effective wormer since the life cycle of fleas and some worms are interlinked.
There are various methods of flea control available from us for your cat or dog including spot on preparations, tablets and injections (for cats only). We do not stock 'flea shampoos' or 'flea collars' since they are rarely effective on their own. There are a myriad of spot ons and other products available in pet shops, but many are simply not as effective as those with a veterinary license. The same applies to products marketed for treating your house.
As a practice we make regular flea control more cost effective by incorporating all of our products into our dog and cat HealthCare Plans. This allows us to tailor a flea control program that best suits your circumstances. If you are concerned that your pet may have fleas, then why not call reception at any of our surgeries and make an appointment for a free flea check with one of our nurses. Or alternatively give us a call and the nursing team will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your pets.