Fleas are one of the most common issues seen
in companion animals. Almost every dog and
cat will become infested with fleas at some
point during their life unless you take
preventative measures.
The flea season was traditionally April to
November, but with central heating in our
homes allowing fleas to continue breeding in
the winter months, it is now an all year round
Fleas are so small they are hard to see so it’s
these 2nd generation fleas that you are likely to
detect when your pet starts to scratch or you
get bitten.
The 2nd generation adult fleas are only 5% of the
infestation. The other 95% of the problem exist
as eggs, larvae and pupae in your home.
Fleas cause discomfort and irritation for your
pet, which can lead to Flea Allergy Dermatitis, a
nasty skin reaction to the flea’s saliva or faeces.
They transmit tapeworm and other
blood-borne diseases and a severe infestation
can lead to anaemia, which is especially serious
for puppies and kittens.
How to Check Your Pet For Fleas
The best way to check for fleas is to check your
pet’s coat for “flea dirt.” Flea dirt is dried
blood that has been excreted by the flea and
shows in the coat as small black specks. If you
comb these specks onto a wet piece of paper
or cotton wool it will turn red/brown.
Understanding the Flea Life Cycle
Your pet can pick up a newly emerged flea
from the environment (gardens, parks) where
flea eggs have previously been shed from
another animal. These fleas are capable of
laying up to 50 eggs each per day which fall off
your pet into your home where they develop
into larvae, pupae and then emerge as a 2nd
generation of adult fleas.
Preventing a Flea Problem
There is no way of stopping your pet from
coming into contact with fleas. You can
prevent these fleas from becoming a problem
by breaking the flea’s lifecycle before your pet
and home becomes infested.
The most popular product we recommend is
Frontline Combo.
Frontline Combo is a prescription spot on
treatment that is applied to the skin on the
back of your pet’s neck. The active ingredient
in Frontline Combo dissolves into the natural
oils of your pet’s skin, disperses over the entire
body and continues to be secreted with the
skin’s natural oils for several weeks.
Frontline Combo is completely safe to use and
works by direct contact with parasites and not
via your pet’s bloodstream. It kills fleas within
24 hours of contact with your pet without
them needing to bite.
As well as killing fleas within 24 hours
Frontline Combo is also an “Insect Growth
Regulator.” An Insect Growth Regulator
works by rendering any eggs that the flea lays
sterile. This means that any eggs that may be
laid will be unable to develop into adult fleas.
It breaks the flea cycle and protects the home
from infestation.
Frontline Combo also provides protection
against Ticks for up to one month.
Frontline Combo for Cats should be applied
every 4 –5 weeks throughout the year to
prevent infestation and Frontline Combo for
Dogs should be applied every 6 – 8 weeks.
A Word of Warning
Applying a flea product designed for a dog to
a cat can prove fatal. If you suspect this has
happened contact the surgery immediately. In
a recent study over 100 cats were poisoned by
shop-bought flea products in one year.
How to Treat a Flea Infestation
If you have not regularly applied flea control
to your pet and do discover a problem please
contact us for advice. To treat a flea
infestation successfully you need to kill adult
fleas on your pet and eliminate the infestation
from your home which may take time.
There are many products on the market that
promise to kill fleas but in our experience shop
bought products do not treat flea problems
We can also provide products and advice on the
best way to treat your home.
Other Pets and Fleas
All animals can become infested with fleas. If
you suspect that your rabbit, guinea pig,
hamster or other small pet has fleas, please
contact the surgery to see one of the vets.
These types of pet can suffer with other mite
and skin problems that cause irritation and may
lead you to think they have fleas.
Do not attempt to treat your small pet with a
dog or cat product as applying these products
will prove fatal.