We’re only buggin’
It is that time of year when the snow melts away the grass is greener and we all can’t wait to get out into the sun and enjoy walks with our four legged friends; or it should be anyway. The bad news is that with the warm weather come the bugs. Over the next couple of weeks we will be talking about some of the more note worthy bugs that our pets will encounter during the glorious warm weather.
Fleas are the well-known to pet owners and a general annoyance of the summer months. Fleas are insects in which the adult stages feed off our pets blood and in doing so cause an intense itch. Large infestations can result in anaemia, a condition where your pet has low red blood cells therefore a decreased ability to transport oxygen throughout their body.
Some pets can also be allergic to the flea bites (flea bite hypersensitivity) which results in severe reactions (hair-loss, severe itch and can lead to secondary bacterial skin infections). Fleas are also zoonotic, meaning they can bite us as well. Fleas are synonymous with itching but they can also transmit tapeworm to our pets. Tape worm is a type of intestinal parasite which attaches to the intestinal wall and filter out nutrients that the pet takes in for its own growth.
Treatment of fleas is complicated by their life cycle. The adult fleas that are found on the pet are a very small portion of the problem. Adult fleas are able to produce approximately 50 eggs per day. Eggs fall off the pet and are found in the bedding, carpets, cracks by the baseboards and floor boards. These then grow and develop through a series of life stages, which can take 10-21 days before they are adults to feed. It is imperative to treat the environment as well as your pet when you discover fleas. Treatment of the environment and pet for at least 6 months is recommended. Flea infestations can be prevented with monthly therapy for the at risk period.
Contact us at Lockerby Animal Hospital for more information.