Flea problems in Animals: Symptoms and Precautions

Fleas are one of the common problems in pets - bet it cats or dogs. In summer months, when the temperature begins to rise, these annoying fleas tend to be in your yard and bite pets. Besides being itchy to your pets, these insects can cause the following health problems in animals:

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  • Flea allergy dermatitis (skin allergies): Flea bites can cause a little bump, but if your pet is allergic to the saliva of fleas, the affected area may swell and welts can appear on the skin.
  • Hot spots: This is another extremely itchy skin condition in pets. Constant scratching or chewing of the skin can create hot spots on your pet’s skin. You need to clean your pet with anti-bacterial shampoo to relieve itching and use recommended ointment by a veterinary doctor to treat the condition.
  • Tapeworms: If your pet has accidentally swallowed a flea from licking or chewing the skin, your pet is likely to develop tapeworms. Tapeworms are parasites that live in pet's intestinal tract and eat away all the vital nutrients that are needed for good health. In that case, you can give your pet an over-the-counter medication like HomeoPet Wrm Clear or Panacur C Canine Dewormer to get rid of tapeworms.
  • Anemia: Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that can even make your pet anemic. Due to this, symptoms like pale gums, lethargy and/or low body temp could arise. If not treated on time, it may even lead to death. So, you need to immediately get rid of the fleas and give your pet essential nutrients in its diet.
  • Bartonella infection: This infection can affect dogs, cats and even humans (usually called Cat Scratch Fever). Symptoms of a Bartonella infection include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and swelling of the lymph nodes. Bartonella is very dangerous, so you must take your pet to a vet at the first signs of the infection.

Flea Control in the Indoor Environment

  • Start by vacuum cleaning your entire house, especially below furniture, drapes, and where your pet sleeps. Daily vacuuming can kill up to 50% of fleas, and immediately discard the vacuum bag.
  • You can use products like Nylar (pyriproxyfen) or methoprene to kill the remaining adult fleas from producing eggs and larvae. These products are available in the form of carpet powders, sprays, or foggers.
  • Foggers are really good for use in large open areas. But surface sprays are even better, as they can reach areas like baseboards, cracks, and even under furniture where foggers cannot reach. But choose a product, keeping in mind the presence of children, fish, birds and asthmatic patients in your house.
  • Weekly wash your pet’s bedding and even treat the surrounding areas of the bedding with products containing both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.

Flea Control in the Outdoor Environment

Treat the yard and kennel areas with outdoor sprays every 7 to 14 days, depending on the product you use. But don’t spray in areas close to rivers, lakes or fish ponds.

Flea Control on Your Pet

There are a number of flea control products like shampoos, dips, collars and oral products to get rid of these annoying insects. In order to kill fleas, you must ensure that they come in contact with the product to absorb it and eventually die. Even after all adult fleas have been killed, you may still see some fleas on pets - as some immature ones may have continued to develop. Therefore, it is important to follow up with an effective flea control program for a longer time period to eradicate fleas completely. It may take several months to a year to get the best result.

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