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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Please! No Fleas!


Fleas can become a bigger problem than just a nuisance. These blood-sucking insects can cause small kittens and puppies to die from a flea anemia and also create skin lesions and infections associated with a condition called flea bite dermatitis. Every year people go to the doctor to find that the lesions on their legs are caused by flea bites. It is important to not ignore the sighting of “just one flea”.

Flea infestations affect people and animals around the globe. In order to eradicate flea infestations you must first understand the life cycle of the flea. The cat flea is the most commonly found flea. To everyone’s dismay, there is not a “magic bullet” to eliminate substantial flea populations or explosions within the home.

There are many misconceptions concerning weather and insects. One misconception is that many think that when the weather turns cold that the insects die. This is not true. The reason we have insects during the warmer months of the year is because they have developed ways to survive long periods of cold. Fleas in particular have also developed ways to withstand the lack of a readily available food source. Simply put, getting rid of your dog and cat will not necessarily get rid of your fleas.

Fleas are the intermediate host for tapeworms. If you see a flea or flea dirt (feces) on your pet, chances are, your pet has tapeworms. You must then have your pet dewormed with a quality product provided by your veterinarian.

Flea control products found at your veterinarian’s office are the best that can be found on the market; but the pet owner must realize that if they have an infestation that they must also treat the environment for the pests. Sometimes it is best to call a professional exterminator. These exterminators have licenses to buy special insecticides that will work much better than an over the counter product. In the long run, you will probably save much of your time as well as your money by having a professional take care of your problem.

Once you have gotten rid of the flea population, you must then take precautions against a re-infestation. Keeping quality flea control products on your pet will help enormously. If your pet travels with you, then you should inspect your pet very carefully for any external parasites before allowing him into the home environment. Regular grooming also helps reveal many problems before they get out of hand. Pet owners need to remember that fleas like to stay around the tail of the pet and on their stomachs. If you see fleas on the pet’s face or head, then you are most likely looking at a flea infestation.

To look for fleas have your pet rollover and expose his stomach. You can then part the hair and expose the fleas. Pushing the hair coat against its natural growth pattern, especially at the base of the tail, will also give you a better view of what may be living in your pet’s coat. Many people have found that using a flea comb helps tremendously. These combs have very close teeth, so to use them properly your pet cannot have any tangles or matting.

Education and understanding is the key to finding the solution to most any problem you may encounter. Hopefully, your pet does not have a flea problem; but if you find that you do, then maybe you now have some information and tools to help you.

later…

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