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Fleas

Dr. Nichola Gaither 

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Fleas are blood sucking parasites that can live on our beloved pets.  They can transmit disease and cause a load of problems.  Fleas are tiny, wingless, brownish-black insects that can be very hard to see.   They cause irritation by biting the skin.  The adult flea prefers to live on its host its entire life, while the eggs and larvae can be found in the pet’s environment.   An adult flea can live more than 100 days and the female can start laying eggs within 1-2 days of her first blood meal!  One flea can lay 40-50 eggs per day and 50% of these will be females!  So a flea infestation can occur very quickly in your home or wherever your pet lives. 

Fleas can cause of variety of problems for your pet.  The most obvious is an itchy pet, although some pets can have fleas and not appear to be very itchy.   Pets that are hypersensitive to flea bites can scratch and bite themselves until their skin is raw.  This can lead to secondary skin infections and hair loss.   If there are several fleas on a pet, the pet can have blood loss anemia.   Fleas can also transmit parasites and diseases such as Tapeworms, Bartonella, Leishmania, and Yersinia (plague). 

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Prevention is the key!  There are many different types of flea prevention to fit your pet.  There are topicals and orals, and some also protect against other parasites such as ticks, heartworm or intestinal parasites.  Not all flea prevention is created equal.  There are several “over-the-counter” products that may appear cheaper, but in the long run, you will spend more money because it may be an inferior product.   Please check with your veterinarian on the best option for your pet.  Proper prevention keeps pets and families safe and saves you money!

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