How to Get Rid of Fleas
Fleas are the most common parasite on both dogs and cats.
As a pet owner, there are some basic things you need to know about fleas. Fleas are external, wingless parasites that live off the blood of their host - mammals and birds. They are wingless, but these tiny pests can jump over 1 foot horizontally. Fleas are not only a nuisance but they also pose health risks for your pets.
Are there different types of parasites?
There are two basic types:
Internal parasites (endoparasites) such as heartworms, hookworms and roundworms, live inside the body of a plant or animal and produce an infection within the host.
External parasites (ectoparasites) such as fleas, ticks, ear mites and sarcoptic mites, live on the body of the host and produce an infestation.
How dangerous are parasites to my pet?
It depends on the type of parasite, the degree of infection or infestation, and your pet’s reaction to the parasite. For example, a mild flea infestation may be of no consequence to some pets, while others may show hair loss, itching and discomfort. Severe flea infestation may lead to significant skin disease, anemia or death, especially in young puppies. Infestations by ear mites can cause otitis, or inflammation of the external ear, that can be complicated by secondary bacterial infections. Pets may have odor and a crusty brown discharge from their ears. Sarcoptic mites can result in severe itchiness, hair loss and discomfort. These mites also affect humans who acquire them from contact with affected dogs.
Canine heartworm is a completely preventable and potentially deadly parasite. Immature worms are transmitted to dogs during the bite of mosquitoes. The immature worms migrate and mature in the dog and eventually become adult heartworms in the large blood vessels in the lungs or the right side of the heart. Heartworms can damage the blood vessels and lead to secondary damage of the heart, resulting in heart failure. Dogs usually are presented to veterinarians for coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance or loss of appetite. Heartworm is much easier to prevent than to treat, because prevention is safe, effective and easy to administer, while dogs may be at risk from serious illness from adult heartworms.
Steps to Rid Your House of Fleas
- Use flea and tick protection on all dogs and cats in your home. At ABC Veterinary Hospital, we prescribe Revolution (Selamectin). Revolution is available for both dogs and cats and is a safe, simple way to protect your pet from fleas, heartworms, and other harmful parasites. Give us a call at (760) 471-4950 to find out more about Revolution. Or schedule an appointment to get your pet's prescription for Revolution.
- Vacuum the entire house - under furniture, along baseboards, under and between seat cushions, everywhere! Dispose of vacuum cleaner bag immediately so that fleas do not reinfest the house.
- Wash your pet's bedding.
- Treat pets monthly with Revolution - it stops fleas and prevents heartworms.
- Continue with these monthly steps all year long.
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Dr. Barry Neichin
ABC Veterinary Hospital
State of the Art - State of the Heart