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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. 

Forget Vampires - Think Fleas

A flea can suck your pet's blood within a minute of jumping onto it. Fleas will mate on your pet within 8 hours of feeding and start laying eggs at 24 hours. One flea today can result in 760 fleas in a month and over 1.5 million fleas in two months.

If you see little brown specks on your pet and mix that debris with water and it turns red it's probably flea dirt. Flea dirt is actually flea faeces which is dried blood.

So there they are - fleas sucking blood, having sex and defecating all over your pet. A flea orgy!

Imagine what happens when your pet comes inside and maybe even sleeps with you?

Well, the fleas lay tiny white eggs that fall off your pet into the environment and along with the flea dirt it's a bit like a mobile
salt and pepper shaker!

The eggs hatch within 1 - 10 days into larvae and move towards somewhere dark and moist.

The larvae become pupae which can be dormant for as long as a year in the environment. Flea adults are stimulated to emerge by warmth, CO2, shadows or movement. This is why you suddenly feel there is a flea population explosion when you move into somewhere that has not been inhabited for a while.

Fleas can cause skin allergies and they can spread tapeworm.

So what can we do to fight fleas?

  • Treat all pets for fleas routinely all year round, especially in Northland.
  • Read the labels. Not all flea treatments are the same. Its sounds simple but we have had cases of cats that have been poisoned by dog flea treatments.


Often we get the complaint, "I've treated my pets but I can still see fleas". This is because flea treatments kill the flea on the pet usually within 24 hours. Only 5% of the flea population will be adult fleas so 95% will be at immature stages in the environment and it's these fleas that will reinfest your pet.

  • Prevent your pet from getting to areas of high risk e.g. under the house.
  • Wash pet bedding regularly in hot water (over 60 degrees C for at least 10 minutes). Any household items that cannot be washed e.g. rugs, should be placed in direct sunlight every few days.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Consider flea bombs/sprays.


Come and talk to us at Bay of Islands Vets about which flea treatments are best for your pets.

Shirley Dryden, BVSc, Bay of Islands Veterinary Services
 


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