Fleas, Fleas, Fleas
Did you know that the fleas that live on your pet represent 5% of the total flea population, with the other 95% living in the environment, in various stages of development. Not the nicest of thoughts!
Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats and dogs and their control is becoming a challenge for veterinarians and owners. The flea has evolved and is extremely resistant in the environment.
Flea Life Cycle:
1. Starts with eggs laid on the pets’ hair coat, which fall off the host and into the animals bedding, carpet and environment.
2. Larvae hatch from these eggs and develop, feeding on adult flea faeces (digested blood).
3. Larvae grow and eventually spin cocoons going into another development stage called pupation, often hidden within the carpet fibres.
4. Pupae can lie dormant for many months and are stimulated to hatch into adults by vibrations and warming temperatures.
5. Emerging adult fleas are fairly mobile and can survive a few days without a host in a suitable environment.
6. Once a suitable host is found, feeding begins, taking a blood meal, within hours of landing on your cat or dog.
Every day, Veterinarians hear “My pet doesn’t have fleas”, and it isn’t until animals have a significant flea burden, they are easily detected. Smaller burdens are even more difficult to see, as pets are quite adapt at grooming them away, and sometimes all you will see is the characteristic skin disease or flea dirt. Indoor pets are just as susceptible as outside pets, with the regulated temperature of the home, perfect for flea survival.
There are several different flea control preparations on the market such as washes, spot-ons, tablets and sprays. Generally the choice of flea control is based on ease of use and cost. It is important to realise that there is emerging evidence that not all flea control products are as effective as they used to be. Being ahead of the pending flea challenge is the key to an effective flea control programme, along with using the appropriate product, suitable to your situation.
Discussing your requirements at your nearest North Canterbury Vets Clinic, will ensure that your pet is not subjected to a flea problem as the weather warms up.