Fleas and Your Pet

Fleas and Your Pet

What are fleas? They are bothersome, tiny, flat, wingless parasites that like to act like vampires and feed off of your pet’s blood.  Not only do they feed off of dogs, but cats,  birds and other mammals as well. When these tiny “bugs” pierce the skin, your pet may feel a bite, and try to scratch and get agitated. Scratching is definitely one of the signs that your pet has fleas. Adult fleas spend all of their time on the dog, cat or other animal. However, you may not see a flea right away as they are fast, and can and will jump up to 20 cm vertically and 41 cm horizontally.

Medicine Hat is an arid climate, and even though fleas like warm, humid environments,they like to live here too! We see several pets at Cypress View Veterinary Clinic that come in with fleas. What people may not realize, is that in suitable environments, fleas can live and breed indoors all year.  Please see the following image showing the life cycle:

Scratching from fleas can lead to hair loss, and flea bites can cause a dermatitis (inflammation and infection in the skin). You may even notice bites on yourself! A large burden of fleas can cause anemia as they do feed on blood. They are also transmitters of an internal parasite, known as tapeworm. You may notice black specks on your pet :

If you suspect fleas, see your veterinarian to get treatment. One of the most common treatments is a topical that can be applied once monthly to your pet. Not only is it important to get rid of the fleas on your pet, but also in its environment. Vacuuming carpets, baseboards, and sleeping areas is recommended as well as laundering all of your pets bedding! There are also premise treatments that can be used for the environments as well.

Thanks for joining us on our flea discussion. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (403) 527 – 1825.





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