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Flea Control

cat-fleas

Fleas can be a serious health problem for both pets and their owners. Flea bite allergies, tapeworm infestations (fleas serve as the intermediate host that brings the tapeworm to your pet), and even the Plague are some of the problems that fleas can cause. The most annoying problem is the itchiness the bites cause to you and your pet.

Flea Life Cycle

When developing a flea elimination and prevention plans, it is very important to be familiar with and understand the life cycle of the flea. The beginning of the life cycle occurs when an adult female flea lays eggs. Fleas must have blood available to reproduce and lay eggs. 24-36 hours after the first blood meal a female will start to lay 40-50 eggs a day. These eggs are small, white objects (slightly smaller than a grain of sand) that are laid in the pet’s fur in bunches of about 20. Eggs fall off the animal and hatch in the environment- usually where the pet sleeps! After 2-12 days the larva then emerges as the next life stage. The emerging larvae are blind and will avoid being out in the light. They develop over 9-200 days by eating pre-digested blood (known as flea “dirt”) that adult fleas pass, along with other organic debris in the environment. They then create a cocoon, the last developmental stage before the adult flea emerges. The cocoon protects the pupae for 7 days up to a year, before the adult flea emerges depending on environmental conditions. The adult flea will not emerge until the presence of a potential host is made obvious - by vibrations, rising levels of carbon dioxide, and body heat. This may be triggered by your pet walking by or people moving in the house alerting the flea to emerge from its cocoon to feed.

Fleas can be difficult to eliminate but using your newly acquired knowledge of the flea life cycle, you can be victorious. Start by treating all areas your pet spends time, including the car and yard. This can be done by vacuuming regularly for several weeks and thoroughly washing bedding and toys in hot soapy water to remove eggs, larvae, and pupae. After a cleaning session seal and remove vacuum and garbage bags so that the fleas do not escape and reinfest your home. While treating the environment, we recommend treating all pets with one of the preventative flea medications listed below to prevent further reinfestation.

Prevention is the Key!!

There are numerous flea infestations in the Bay Area because our weather is very mild and never gets extreme enough to kill them off. Fleas are present year-round in the Bay Area, even winter. All pets should be on some form of flea control year-round.

dog-fleas

Types of flea control

Topical- a liquid which is put on the back of your pet in one or more spots. It then spreads across the oils and waxes of the skin to cover the entire body within 24 hours. It lasts 1 month. Bathing your pet will remove some of it and you will probably lose about 1 week of action for every bath. It may therefore be necessary to reapply it sooner if you bathe your pet more often than once a month. Topical flea control we have in stock at our hospital include:

Dogs- Vectra (can be used on dogs and puppies)-Waterproof

Cats-Cheristin and Revolution

cat-fleas

Oral- an oral flea medication is ingested by your pet and kills fleas when they bite. With oral flea medications you don't have to worry about it washing off. Oral flea medications in stock at our hospital include.

Dogs-Nexgard (flea and tick preventative), Trifexis (flea and heartworm preventative) and Capstar (adult flea preventative, only works for 24 hours)

Cats-Capstar (adult flea preventative, only works for 24 hours)

Collars- Flea collars are most often used to prevent parasites from taking up residence on your pet. Flea and tick collars are especially useful when you are in the process of eliminating a pest infestation as they will help prevent a new outbreak. Most flea collars are greasy and can be toxic to owners. This is why Seresto is the only collar we recommend for our clients to use. Seresto can be used by both cats and dogs. It is a unique polymer matrix collar that offers 8 months of protection using a continuous supply of two active ingredients: imidacloprid and flumethrin which kills fleas and ticks on contact (no biting required).

If you have any questions about fleas, please contact our knowledgeable staff today!!

***If you have a preferred flea treatment that's not available at our hospital check out the Vetsource online pharmacy.

flea-control

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