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Info & Advice

COMPANION ANIMALS

This page is dedicated to what we believe might be of interest for you and your pet. In-depth articles packed with useful information & practical tips for your companion animals. 

Flea Control

Facts about Fleas

  • Most dogs and cats will suffer from a flea infestation at some stage of their life. We have produced this fact sheet to guide you on the right track in dealing with this common but often difficult problem.
  • In this part of New Zealand fleas can survive and breed for most of the year.
  • The most common flea on pets is the cat flea.
  • Fleas spend most of their life cycle [average 21 days] in the animal’s environment and only adult fleas are found on the animal’s body at flea feeding time!
  • The female flea lays the eggs on the pet's coat. These fall off and can be found wherever the animal spends time - in bedding, carpets, sofas or even your bed!
  • The flea feeds by ingesting blood from the animal several times a day.
  • Fleas can travel long distances e.g. from house to garden.
  • An adult flea can lay up to 2000 eggs in its lifetime and these can remain viable for up to a year around the home.
  • Some pets develop a hypersensitivity [allergy] to flea saliva. This can provoke itching and severe self destruction by the animal causing raw open sores and generalised skin infections. In dogs this is often on the rump area above the tail. In cats it may be small scabs scattered through the coat. In cats it may be impossible to find the offending flea due to the intense grooming by the animal. In sensitive animals one flea bite a week is enough to set off the reaction. These animals may require antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or special shampoos to treat this condition.
  • Fleas are the intermediate host of the tapeworm so animals with fleas should also be treated for worms.
  • Fleas can also pass bacteria called Bartonella from cat to cat. People scratched or bitten by these cats can develop an illness called ‘Cat Scratch Fever’, which can be debilitating for several months.
  • There are good flea treatments available in different forms and a discussion with the vet or vet nurse will help you decide which is best for your pets. Products must be used at recommended doses and intervals.
  • All in contact animals must be treated for effective eradication. In some situations, treatment of the environment may also be needed to help more rapidly decrease the flea population.
  • If you have a pet with a flea problem and feel that the treatment is not working or indeed don't know how to start, please talk to any of the staff in our Vet Clinics. They will be happy to put you on the right track.

 


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