Many pets are experiencing flea infestations. Perhaps you have observed your pet scratching or noticed scabs or hairless areas. Possibly you’ve felt a bite on your ankle or even seen one of those tiny and elusive pests. Take a moment to examine your pet’s skin for evidence of fleas. Although you might see an actual flea, you will more likely notice the black “flea dirt” that fleas leave behind. Just a few fleas rapidly become thousands, as adult female fleas can lay 50 eggs a day. The flea life cycle can vary from weeks to years, making constant flea management necessary. Controlling these creatures is vital to your pet’s health. Although fleas can lead to various health problems, including tapeworms and anemia, the most common disorder is flea allergy dermatitis. For the percentage of pets that are hypersensitive to fleas, the saliva from even one flea bite (containing a histamine-like substance) sets off an outrageous reaction culminating in severe itchiness and self destruction of the skin. Once the skin barrier is compromised, opportunistic bacteria and yeast worsen the skin disease, increasing the pet’s discomfort. Fleas are notorious for affecting certain areas of the body and the diagnosis is often made based on the pattern of skin disruption. The common areas of flea hypersensitivity are along the back (especially in front of the tail), on the stomach and flanks, and around the neck and ears. Fortunately we have two effective, new flea products available, as we are observing flea resistance to some of our older products. Remember that even though you lie down with dogs, you don’t have to rise up with fleas! Contact us to learn about Vectra and Comfortis and how to make those fleas flee!
Lindsey N. Haile D.V.M
King William Veterinary Clinic