24/1/2019 - GERMISTON VET
Let’s Talk Fleas
Fleas are those small insects which suck the blood of humans and any warm-blooded animal. They mostly prefer nonhumans. These flightless parasites are 3mm in length and the adults are normally brown in colour.
These cringe-worthy parasites make pets live miserable and people start itching at the thought of them. Not only are the adults sipping on a red cell cocktail but a female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Adults also only make up 5% while pupae make up 10%, larvae 35% and eggs a staggering 50%! How itchy do you feel now?
Adults – only the tip of the iceberg.
Adult fleas are easily recognisable but account for only a tiny handful in contrast to the other stages. When conditions are just right they come out of their cocoon and must feed immediately. Within 24hours the mating starts and eggs are laid 36 – 48 hours afterwards. This is why killing is crucial.
Eggs – the most abundant.
When the eggs are laid they are deposited on the coat and dropped into the environment. These eggs aren’t sticky as they can easily drop and be embedded into carpets and furniture. Hatching normally take place within a few days or even weeks as conditions should be on par.
Larvae – in the environment.
After the larvae hatch they live in the environment and feed off the adult flea faeces (flea dirt), dead skin cells and other organic debris. They spin into a cocoon to move onto the next stage which is the pupae.
Pupae – the survivors.
This stage is the most resilient stage of the flea life cycle. It stays perfectly camouflaged as it attracts dirt and other debris to remain undetected in the environment for up to 12months.
- Serious scratching and itching
- Hair loss
- Biting and chewing at the skin
- Skin that is irritated and red
What to look out for in flea products
It must be able to treat multiple stages of fleas. It won’t help if only adults are targeted as eggs still have a chance to hatch and reach the adult's stage.
Treat your pet’s surroundings. As eggs don’t stick to the coat it might embed into their blankets and bedding and be picked up later. You can get oils and waxes which treat the coat even after the hair has been shed.
Convenience is the key. Spot-on formulations which are water-resistant are a good choice for your pets. Bathe and dry your pet before applying the application. Frequent shampooing and even daily swimming may have an effect on the product.
Germiston Vet and Sunnyridge Vet provide owners with the best options for flea and tick prevention and treatment products. Call: 011 902 3507 (Germiston) or 011 828 4751 (Sunnyridge) for any enquiries.