- Feline Specialties Veterinary Hospital

9702 Riverside Dr. (918) 299-8222
April 2015
Flea Round Up
Flea Season
Traditionally, we have considered spring and summer
to be considered as the “flea season”. However, in
Oklahoma our winters never get cold enough or are
long enough to impact the flea population. In addition,
most stages of the flea life cycle happen where our
pets live. And for most of us that is inside with us.
Therefore, flea season is 12 months long in Oklahoma.
Flea Life Cycle
The adult flea lives its entire life on the cat (or dog).
It will take a blood meal, mate and lay eggs. These
eggs along with the flea feces (flea dirt) will then drop
out of the fur into the environment. The highest population of flea eggs will be where your cat spends most
of its time—its favorite bed, your bed, your couch,
etc. The flea egg will hatch out a larvae that then burrows down away from light. The flea larvae then feeds
on the flea dirt that is in your carpet or the cat’s (or
your) bedding. As the larvae matures, it will form a
cocoon or pupae. These pupae have a tough outer
shell that is resistant to any chemicals. In addition,
these pupae can remain in their cocoons for 6 months
or more.
After the pupa develops, it does not automatically
emerge from its cocoon. It is able to remain in the
cocoon until it detects a nearby host. The mature pupa is able to detect the vibrations, heat and carbon
dioxide levels of an approaching host. It will emerge
from its cocoon and jump onto the host.
A common scenario occurs when a cat or dog is
boarded during the owner’s vacation. The owner picks
up the cat (or dog) from the boarding kennel and returns home. The mature pupae have been waiting for
a host and when the cat or dog enters the home, a
huge number of adult fleas emerge at once and attack the host creating a sudden, heavy infestation.
Often the boarding kennel is blamed for giving the
pet fleas. What really happened was that the pupae
waited to emerge while there was no host present
and then they all emerged at once when the host
A Few Words on Tapeworms
There are many species of tapeworms but the one
most of us are familiar with is the common tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum. Tapeworms live in the
intestinal tract and feed off the ingesta in the intestines. The worm will pass segments filled with eggs
with the feces. Often these segments will “hang up”
on the fur around the anus or at the anal opening.
When “fresh”, these segments are white, flat and 1/4
-1/2inch long. After they dry, they look like dried
pieces of rice.
These rice-like pieces drop into the environment
where they become a tasty treat for flea larvae. They
remain in the flea larvae throughout its development
into an adult flea. When the flea infected cat grooms
itself, it will often swallow the adult flea that is now
carrying tapeworm eggs. The tapeworm eggs hatch
out in the intestines and begin the life cycle again.
Since cats are fastidious groomers, they will often
reinfect themselves by ingesting tapeworm segments
from their fur or anus during grooming. It is common
to see tapeworm infections years after the cat has
been flea free. Especially, those cats that are heavy
Fleas Can Kill
It would be a mistake to think of
the flea as simply a nuisance. A
heavy flea burden is lethal, especially to smaller or younger animals. The flea is not at all selective about its host and has been
known to kill dairy calves through
heavy infestation.
Flea infestations can cause the
following conditions:
Fleas are blood-sucking insects
that can cause a slow but still lifethreatening blood loss. This is not only a problem with
young kittens but also a problem for elderly cats. Older
cats often do not groom well allowing the fleas to feed
undisturbed. In addition, older cats often have other
debilitating diseases that may slow down the production
of replacement red blood cells that are needed. It is
important that young kittens and geriatric cats be well
protected from fleas.
Flea Anemia
Feline Infectious Anemia—a
Flea Allergic Dermatitis—cats
who are allergic to the saliva in
a flea bite will scratch and bite
themselves causing hair loss,
scabs and often large sores.
life-threatening blood parasite carried by fleas.
Cat Scratch Fever/Bartonellosis—this organism
carried by fleas does not make the cat sick but
the infected cat can make a person sick.
Tapeworm Infection
Myths Veterinarians Hear Every Day
boards of hardwood floors.
My cat cannot have fleas because he lives totally indoors.
Fleas thrive particularly well in
the well-regulated temperatures
in the home.
You cannot expect to see fleas as
cats are adept at licking them
away. More often you will see the
secondary signs of flea infestation:
My cat cannot have fleas because they are not jumping/
biting us.
Though fleas have the ability to
feed on a wide variety of hosts, it does not prefer
human blood and won’t eat it unless absolutely necessary. A newly emerged adult flea is hungry and
may well take a blood meal from the first warm body
it finds—human or cat. But in general, adult fleas
regard human blood as a last choice and humans
tend not to be bitten unless flea population numbers
are very high.
Fleas love to develop in the cracks between the
Specks of flea dirt (feces) on
your cat or bedding. Flea dirt looks
like—well—dirt but will turn red when wet. After
all, it IS digested blood.
Areas of thin (or no hair) wherever the cat can
reach with its tongue—the rump, flanks and abdomen.
Scabs around the neck and face—this is where
the cat is scratching at the fleas with its back
We do not have fleas because we have only hardwood floors.
My cat cannot have fleas be-
cause I would see them.
Hairballs—with the excess ingestion of hair
comes the inevitable—hairballs.
Flea Products for Cats
Fleas are survivors. With the arrival of insecticides,
other products that leave a large oily spot. So far,
came flea resistance. The members of the flea popu-
we have not seen any flea resistance to Revolution.
lation that survived a particular insecticide would pass
those genes onto their offspring. The manufacturers
It is now recommended to rotate flea products pe-
of flea products then turned to stronger insecticides.
riodically. Repeated exposure to the same insecti-
In addition, dog owners wanted added tick protection.
cide will eventually produce a resistant population.
Ticks require significantly more lethal insecticides to
If you switch to another insecticide, the fleas will
kill them than fleas. This created many effective
be totally sensitive to the new insecticide. After a
products labeled for dogs—not cats. Cats are sensi-
few more generations, change again. Up until re-
tive to insecticides and the insecticides in many of
cently, we had yet to find a product that we felt we
these products are at toxic levels for cats. READ LA-
could recommend to owners to rotate with Revolu-
tion. The products we researched were either too
toxic in cats or had shown flea resistance. We now
recommend the Seresto collar for flea control in
The doctors at Feline Specialties recommend Revolu-
cats 10 weeks and older. It is a flea collar that
tion for flea control on cats. Revolution is safe for cats
works! Other advantages are that it is odorless and
and is labeled for control of fleas, ticks, ear mites,
lasts 8 months. For those clients who wish to start
heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. It can be
a regular rotation of flea products, we will be hap-
used in kittens as young as 8 weeks as well as preg-
py to place you in our reminder system so your cat
nant or nursing cats. Revolution is a topical product
will stay protected year round.
that is applied to the back of you cat’s neck once a
month. It is alcohol based so dries to a powder unlike
The Person Behind the Face
We would like to introduce our two new “techs in training”. Peyton Edwards (the blonde on the left) was raised
on a farm and is currently attending TCC with the hopes
of attending vet school soon. She shares her house with
2 former Feline Specialties kittens and “loves getting to
spend time with our client’s cats”!
Shannon Starkey (the brunette on the right) recently
moved back to Oklahoma from Texas. She will be attending Veterinary Technician school at TCC in the fall
working towards her CVT (certified veterinary technician)
degree. She shares her home with 3 kitties and a dog.
Hospital Hours
Monday - Friday 7:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am- noon
Sunday 9:00am—9:30am for drop offs and pick ups
Contact Information
Phone (918) 299-8222
Fax (918) 299-8199
E-mail for general information: [email protected]
E-mail for Dr. Zinn: [email protected]
E-mail for Dr. O’Cain: [email protected]
Emergency Information
For after hours emergency contact:
Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists (OVS) (918) 299-4900
9360 S Union (west of highway 75 at the Jenks exit)
Animal Emergency Clinic (AEC) (918) 665-0508
4055 S 102nd E AVE (west of highway 169 at the 41st Street exit)