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What to do about flea control? 0 Comments

Dog with FleasCanine Retreat requires our guests to be on a regularly applied flea control medication. Fleas are difficult to get rid of and no one wants these little buggers getting into their home!

Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, they may also come into contact with ticks and heartworms which can lead to serious medical complications. We advise discussing with your local veterinarian the best preventive measures to take for your pet’s particular situation.

To help you learn more about fleas, we have included a very interesting and informative article about fleas written by Dr. Annette LePere, VMD, Medical Director of Rolling Hills Animal Hospital in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA:

By Annette LePere, VMD

Did you know that fleas have been around for over 100 million years? Unfortunately, that means they will probably be around well into our future too, the resilient little buggers! So what can we, as pet owners, do about this pesky parasite? Well, to create and maintain a flea-free environment, we first need to understand the flea, and how the medications we use affect them.

  1.  THE GOOD: Super products!!!

Flea control has come a long way since I had my first job in a vet hospital in 1994. All but gone are the days of flea dips and combing. . Now we have many new veterinary-grade flea products that are not only safe, but extremely effective. Most kill multiple stages of the flea – aiming for the adult, larva and egg. These products tend to last for at least 30 days, and often contain an insect growth inhibitor– which prevents immature stages from growing into blood sucking adults! We even have sprays for the yard that include these ingredients to help prevent just a few fleas from becoming an infestation.

  1. THE BAD: Strange Flea Facts & Body Parts…

Fleas are wingless, parasitic insects that attack/affect many different mammals, such as dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums and even humans! They can jump over 150 times their body size, which can equate to almost a foot in any direction, making them one of the best jumpers in the animal kingdom. Fleas also have flat bodies that allow them to run in between hairs easily, making them very difficult to kill even by pressure. One flea alone can bite up to 400 times in a single day, and can spawn over 1,000 fleas in under a month! Fleas will even use us as transportation, carrying them from place to place, facilitating their ability to cause widespread diseases. Remember the Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, that killed an estimated 60% of the European population in the 14th Century? This was spread by rodents carrying fleas infected with the bacteria Y. Pestis! This is just a grim reminder of why it’s so important to take anti-flea action, even if only a few fleas are found on your pet!

  1. THE UGLY: Life Cycle of the Flea

flea life cycleOn average, a flea can live 2-3 months and has to go through 4 different stages of growth – egg, larva, pupa and then adult. In order for a flea to lay an egg, the adult must have a bloodmeal first. Understanding these different stages of the flea life cycle, brings to light how a lot of the flea products we use on our pets actually work. A female starts by laying eggs on the host, which then fall off into the environment (like the yard, the carpet, or where your pet sleeps). The eggs can last in the environment a few weeks before hatching, then turning into larva. The larva feed on any available organic material, then move to cool dark areas where they develop into pupae and settle inside a cocoon. Then the adult flea hatches when it gets a signal of movement or warmth from an unsuspecting passerby, where the flea has a few days to survive until a bloodmeal – otherwise known as a BITE. After that, one female flea can lay up to 5000 eggs in her lifetime, making this cycle very easy to repeat! Yuck!

 

So in order to keep your pets (and hopefully your home) flea free this summer, just remember to keep your pets (both indoor & outdoor) on a good flea preventative, vacuum your carpets and wash your pet bedding regularly, and consider treating your yard, if you have a lot of stray animals or wildlife that live nearby. Ask one of us to help you determine what is the safest and most effective flea control for your pet!

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