Our Friend the Flea

August 3, 2018

Okay I admit that I am being facetious- there is nothing friendly about the evil flea!  In New England we dream, and anxiously wait for the warmer weather and longer days all winter long. However, we aren’t the only ones looking forward to the warmer weather. Our pesty little friend the flea seems to re-emerge during the hot summer months. Although fleas can be a year-round problem depending on where you live or whether they have settled inside your home, summer marks the peak of flea season. 

Flea Facts

  • Fleas are ectoparasites.

  • They are extremely hardy animals that have been around for more than 100 million years.

  • They have an exoskeleton that withstands high pressures and is shock resistant. You can drop a flea from five feet and not kill it because of their exoskeleton.

  • Fleas are incredible athletes. A flea can jump over seven inches high and thirteen inches long. If a flea were the size of a human, that’s equivalent to jumping 1000 feet high!

Why care about these little bugs?

  • Fleas can transmit tapeworms when your pet ingests them. Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that can cause malnutrition if untreated.

  • Fleas can also transmit Yersina pestis, the bacteria that causes the bubonic plague.

  • Young animals with severe flea infestations are at risk for developing anemia.

  • Not only do fleas annoy their hosts relentlessly, some animals are sensitive to fleas and can develop a skin reaction called “flea dermatitis," which can then lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma).

  • Don’t forget, fleas can also bite people!

Signs your pet has fleas

  • Fleas cause many pets to become itchy. If your pet is scratching or biting their legs, rump, or feet, they could have fleas.

    • When you begin to see these signs its time to call Kate!

What I am going to look for

  • I conduct a flea check on every animal that I being into our salon, but I will do a more intensive evaluation when you tell me that you have seen some signs!  

  • I am looking for black specks that look like pepper on your pet’s skin, this could be flea dirt. Flea dirt is actually flea poop---I know…I know…but it is what it is.  The good news is that you can tell the difference between normal dirt and flea poop by what they eat…blood.

    • Take a wet Q-tip and the touch the black flecks with the tip- It’s flea dirt if the Q-tip turns red or rust color. Yes, because of the blood

How to prevent and treat flea infestations

  • Use one of the many safe and effective flea products. We will help you pick the best choice for your pet.

  • We make certain that the products we recommend target more than one stage of the flea’s life cycle.

  • For some clients we will recommend using these products year-round to keep your household a flea-free zone- for others we will recommend their use only when the weather becomes warmer.

 

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