Fleas are ectoparasites (meaning they live on the outside of your pet), they belong to the insect family and are around 2mm long.
Most cats and dogs will suffer from fleas at one time or another and they can cause great discomfort (some animals are even allergic to flea saliva – a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis or F.A.D)
Even though there are cat fleas and dog fleas the cat flea is far more common and can infest the cat, dog and even man.
Due to the life cycle of the flea the severity of the infestation can be misleading. Only 5% of the problem is the adult flea on your pet. The other 95% is the eggs, larvae and pupae infesting the home environment. This is why it is so important to not only treat the adult flea but also to use an insect growth regulator (I.G.R) to destroy eggs and larvae. There are currently no products available to kill the pupal life stages but there are steps you can take to encourage them to emerge as adult fleas and therefore be killed by the adulticide.
These steps are:
- Regular vacuuming (the heat and vibrations encourage the pupae to hatch)
- Allow the pet continued access to the whole house so that as the pupae hatch, the adult flea will jump onto the pet and be killed by the adulticide.
- Washing bedding 60 degrees C or above to kill developmental life stages.
The flea is the intermediate host for the tapeworm. When your pet grooms it may ingest fleas infested with this worm and is then itself at risk from infestation. Any animal that has suffered/is suffering from fleas should also be treated for tapeworm.
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