If left untreated fleas can make your pet miserable! Fleabites can lead to infections and possibly even more serious diseases. Today our Mooresville vets explain how to spot the signs of flea infestations, and what you can do to prevent fleas.
What are fleas?
Fleas are external parasites that depend upon a host animal for their survival. Cats and dogs make ideal hosts for these unwanted pests. Unless you step-in and break their lifecycle, fleas will continue to thrive and reproduce on your pet, and in your home.
What signs of flea infestation should I look for?
Itching and scratching is often the first sign that your pet may be hosting fleas. Itchiness is caused by an allergy to the protein in flea saliva. The bite of just a single flea bite could cause your pet to become agitated and begin scratching excessively.
Red bumps or pimples on your pet's groin, belly, under the legs, on their behind, or at the base of their tail, is another sign that your dog or cat may have fleas. Hair loss, dry skin, and lesions in the areas where your pet is scratching could lead to infection and more severe diseases if fleas are left untreated.
How can I check my pet for fleas?
Adult fleas are small, brown and relatively easy to see with the naked eye.
Check your pet's comb or brush for signs of fleas during weekly grooming sessions. Thoroughly check for fleas in thinly-haired areas like your pet's abdomen by having your dog or cat lie on their side during grooming.
Using a fine-toothed flea comb (available from your vet's office) can be helpful for spotting flea feces. Fleas feces (or flea dirt) looks similar to black pepper or tiny grains of sand that turn red when wet. Run the flea comb along your pet's underbelly or back and check the comb for signs of flea dirt with each stroke. Having your pet stand on a white towel or cloth while you brush them will make seeing the black droppings easier as they fall from your pet while you comb.
I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If your pet is scratching or uncomfortable but you don't see any obvious signs of fleas, make an appointment to see your vet. A skin test to check for flea allergies is available at your vet's office, and while you are there, your vet can also test your pet for other allergies which may be causing your pet's discomfort.
My pet has fleas, how do I get rid of them?
To prevent or eliminate fleas, there are a variety of safe and effective treatment options available from your vet or well-stocked pet supply stores. In severe cases, your pet may require prescription creams and antibiotics from your Mooresville vet, to help eliminate the fleas and soothe your pet's skin.
To ensure that your dog or cat doesn't develop more serious issues resulting from fleas or other parasites, prevention or early detection and treatment is essential.