Adult fleas are tiny dark brown, wingless insects which can jump up to 165 times their own length and are easily spread by contact from one animal to another.
In order to survive and breed, fleas need to feed on the blood of our pets. They cling onto fur with their claws and bite the skin with a needle-like mouth. For young puppies and kittens this blood loss can cause anaemia which is potentially life-threatening. In adult dogs and cats (and humans!) the main problem is the flea bite, which leads to irritation and skin allergy problems. Fleas are also involved in the transmission of tapeworms.
A single flea can lay up to 2000 eggs but most fall into the environment such as your pet’s bedding or the carpet. These larvae then develop into adults who will jump onto your pet (or even you!) where they will bite, feed and the cycle continues.
How to stop the itch
If your pet has a heavy infestation, you may see fleas on close examination of the coat. The best way to check for fleas is to check for "flea dirt" which are brown/black specks seen in the pet’s coat (‘flea dirt’ is really dried specks of blood extracted by the flea). Comb through your pet’s coat onto a wet piece of kitchen roll or paper. If the specks turn red/brown, then you know your pet has fleas.
Don’t wait for your pet to itch or scratch before thinking about flea treatments. Effective and regular flea control will help make sure your pet and your house stay flea free. At Vets4Pets, our vets can prescribe effective spot-on treatments that, used regularly, will prevent flea infestation.
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