Did you know that one single flea can lay 40-50 eggs per day, all while biting your furry family member (or even you...) up to 400 times per day? Or that one female flea consumes 15 times its body weigh in blood each and every day? Or that the average flea life cycle in a home is about 21 days?
Fleas do not live on your pet. They live in the yards and in carpeted areas of your home. Think of it this way: when fleas jump onto your pet, and your pet comes into the house, the flea grabs a few bites of blood and then jumps off to find the best area to nest in, like your carpet and rugs. They breed wherever they land and continue to use the pet and you as means of food.
On the medical side, a flea infestation can cause an iron-deficiency anemia in your pet. Fleas can also be carriers of tapeworms, gastro-intestinal parasites that can cause diarrhea, weight loss, anorexia and vomiting. The tapeworm larva can also migrate through the brain producing neurological clinical signs (seizures, blindness, circling, abnormal consciousness, weakness and paralysis) as a result of tissue destruction and inflammation. While dogs with fleas usually scratch, cats often lick and groom themselves in an attempt to rid their coats of fleas. Fleas can also be responsible for allergic and / or moist dermatitis (commonly known as hotspot) associated with your pet's constant licking in a vain effort to reduce generalized itching and discomfort. Medical intervention may be necessary to treat any secondary skin infection.
The most popular flea control remains a topical monthly application of a product used to kill fleas upon their contact with the treated skin. Some other monthly systemic products aim at inhibiting the flea development and preventing its growth. When a flea jumps on your pet and bites in, they get a heavy dosage of the medicine you've already applied, killing them on contact. An oral tablet can also be used as a fast acting agent in order to kill adult fleas on your pet, but without any residual protection beyond 24 hours. Environmental products can also be used for the backyard and surroundings.
Because of the flea's life cycle, it can take 6-8 weeks for a flea infestation to become established in a home, and at least that long for all life stages to be exhausted once treatment begins. Therefore, the successful control of an infestation may take up to 4 months to achieve!
It's easier to prevent an infestation than it is to treat. Be sure to talk to your vet to be sure that you are receiving the medicine that is best for your pet and remember to apply it per your vets instructions.
Ticks are even worse. These parasites attach to the host and feed 12 to 24 hours before falling off. They spend 10 percent of their life attached to their host and can cause local reactions, skin damage, irritation and inflammation, hypersensitivity, anemia, paralysis.
Ticks can carry and transmit Lyme disease which can be transmitted not just to your pet, but to you as well. Symptoms and ailments of Lyme disease include arthritis, lameness, anorexia, depression, cardiac, neurological and kidney disease.
What's the best way to keep these blood suckers off your pet? Using a topical flea and tick medicene you can prevent the potential spread of the Lyme disease. As with fleas, the ticks grab on, eat the blood and then die on contact.