Our vets in Edgewater talk to you about fleas, the most common external parasite. They go into detail about the early signs of fleas and what to do if your pet is suffering from them because, if fleas go untreated they can cause serious diseases and infections.
What are fleas?
These external parasites need hosts such as your beloved cat or dog to survive. If you as pet owners do not take the mandatory steps to stop the fleas life cycle they will keep reproducing and thriving on the fur of your animal companion (and your house).
How can i tell if my cat or dog has fleas?
If your dog or cat has an allergy to the protein in fleas salivia they will react by scratching as soon as the external parasite bites them, just a single flea can make your pet irritated and excessively scratch.
Other symptoms of flea bites can include red bumps or pimples on your pets belly, under their legs or groin or at the base of their tail. If your pet continues to itch or scratch at any of these areas it could make their skin dry or cause hair loss. If fleas are left untreated your cat or dog can develop infection and lesions which have the potential to develop into more serious diseases.
How do I check my pet for fleas?
Adult fleas are small, brown and relatively easy to see with the naked eye.
It's a smart idea to check your pet's brush or comb while you're grooming them. Having your pet lie on their side will let you take a closer look at areas with thin hair, such as the abdomen.
You may see "flea dirt" which looks similar to tiny grains of sand, or black pepper when wet. To find flea dirt (feces), use a fine-tooth flea comb (you can get one at your vet's office) to comb along your pet's back and underbelly. By standing your pet on a cloth or white towel while brushing them, you will be able to easily see any black droppings that fall from their fur.
What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If your pet is showing no signs of fleas but they are still scratching, book an appointment with your veterinarian who will be able to perform a skin test to check for flea allergies and other types of allergies. Your furry friend might be reacting to another allergen that's making them uncomfortable.
If my pet does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?
There are lots of safe and effective treatments that you can use to eliminate fleas, including shampoos, sprays, powders and topical liquids. If your pet has a more severe case you might have to visit your veterinarian for prescription creams and antibiotics.
Treating fleas early and preventing them all together are the first choice methods to make sure your cat or dog doesn't develop more serious issues in the future, as a result of fleas.