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Posted on 12-03-2015

Are you in Flea-nial?

Common misconceptions associated with our furry friends’ most common pest- the flea.

Misconception no.1: "My pet can’t have fleas because he/she lives inside the house exclusively.”

Reality: Fleas are excellent at hitching rides on any warm moving body including yours, dear reader. The flea will not stay on you for long, but it may be long enough to get in your house and seek out a fuzzier host on which to live. One traveling flea that is full of eggs can quickly turn into dozens then hundreds on your pet and throughout the house.

If your pet has started to scratch and itch, check him over carefully (especially over the top of their rump) to see if there are any fleas or dark specks stuck in their fur, these are the flea’s “dirt” (poop). If you are unsure place some of the crusts on a wet paper towel. If it is flea dirt they will dissolve into bloody streaks.

Flea dirt on pet

Misconception no. 2: “Fleas are not a problem in the winter; they will die when it gets cold outside.”

Reality: Fleas will happily overwinter in your house and even on an animal that is living outside. After all it is nice and cozy down deep in your pet’s coat.

We recommend you keep your pet on their flea preventatives all winter long. Skipping treatments can give invading fleas a chance to infest your pet and house. Better safe than sorry and flea bit.

Misconception no. 3: “ I have many pets, but I only need to treat the ones that are itchy or maybe only the dogs, but not the six cats that also live with us.”

Reality: Fleas will live on any untreated pets and even on stray animals that use your porch and yard.

Only treating the animals that are showing signs of discomfort will result in failure to get your flea problem under control. Treat all the cats and dogs in your house, and as many of the outdoor animals as you are able. For example; that “stray” cat that has been living on your porch for the last 3 years may be contributing to the problem( it probably thinks it is your pet anyway… be responsible and treat it too).

Misconception no. 4: “To get a flea problem under control, I only have to treat the pets.”

Reality: Fleas only spend part of their life cycle on the pet, their eggs, larva (maggots), and Pupae (cocoons) can mostly be found in carpet, bedding, and the cracks in hardwood floors.

We recommend treatment of not only the pet, but also the house and yard. During parts of their life cycle they are particularly hard to kill, so use good products and be sure to follow package directions (I know few people like to read directions, but in this case it is important). Standard treatments will take 2-3 months to get the fleas under control.

Misconception no.5:  Your veterinarian and their staff rarely hear in the exam room statements such as “My pet doesn’t have fleas.”, “He’s never had fleas before.”, or “No way- Those can’t be fleas!!!.”

Reality: We hear these statements and more like them several times a day. We even have a name for this condition- “Flea-nial”- a denial of the existence of fleas on their pet. Some people never think to check for fleas or do not know what to look for if they did, some can’t see them because they are so small and then there are some who would rather not believe that their fur baby could have disgusting parasites in their fur. We are happy to help all these people by opening up a dialogue to arrive at a solution to help restore the comfort of their pet and rid them of their pests.

There are many good choices for flea treatments available now. Topical and oral products are very popular; some of our best are prescription products. There is even a new version of a flea and tick collar that is effective for many months. We keep an excellent house spray in stock. We pride ourselves on educating our clients on their treatment options and strategies to treat infestations in the house and on the pet. All it takes is a visit so we can examine your pet to determine the extent of the problem and check for associated skin disease, then we can work with you to formulate a plan to best suit your particular situation.

Don’t be in Flea-nial!! Check your pet today for signs of fleas. If you find any, don’t panic or stress out. Contact us! - We can help. Your pet’s comfort and happiness is our chief goal.

 

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