Project Description

Fleas

Fleas are parasitic six-legged insects that feed on the blood of their hosts. Their bodies are made for jumping and their compressed shape means that it’s also easy for them to run through the hair of your pet. Although there are many different species of fleas, the most common one is Ctenocephalides felis, a cat flea that actually prefers dogs.

Fleas thrive in warm, humid conditions at low altitudes. A female flea requires a “blood meal” in order to lay her eggs. Their droppings, the reddish-brown “flea dirt” that you see on your pet, is actually what larvae need to feed on to live.

Fleas are not only a nuisance to humans and their pets, but can cause medical problems in pets including flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, hair loss, and secondary skin irritations. Also, large numbers of fleas can cause anemia, especially in puppies and kittens. Some pets have been known to die if the anemia is severe. While bites are rarely felt, it is the resulting irritation caused by the flea salivary secretions that varies among pets. Some may witness a severe reaction (rash or inflammation) resulting in secondary infections caused by scratching the aggravated skin area. Tapeworms normally plague our pets but may appear in children if parts of infested fleas are accidentally consumed. In some cases, fleas have been known to spread bubonic plague from rodent to rodent and from rodent to humans.

The fleas you thought you eliminated might be back because a number of eggs that had been lying dormant have now hatched. The pupal stage of the flea can lie dormant for months and is resistant to most insecticides. You need to keep treating the environment and your pet until all of these stages are eliminated.