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Fleas Glorious Fleas!

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Fleas Glorious Fleas!!!

Around this time of the year we start seeing more and more problems associated with flea infestation of pets. Fleas can cause a constant irritation and annoyance for affected pets. Unfortunately some animals are hypersensitive to flea saliva causing a disease syndrome known as flea allergy dermatitis. For these animals one bite can lead to a vicious cycle of biting and scratching which often causes a nasty bacterial skin infection and hair loss.
Most of the fleas in a household are usually not on the animal. The flea has a similar life cycle to the butterfly, involving eggs, larvae, pupae (cocoons) and adults. Eggs are laid on the animal and then fall off in bedding, on to carpet, floorboards and soil. The larvae hatches quickly, feeds on the faeces of adult fleas and then spins a cocoon within several weeks. The cocoons can lie dormant for up to 1 year before the adult flea emerges. Warm temperatures, high humidity, floor vibrations and carbon dioxide can stimulate the cocoons to hatch. This can be a particular problem when a house has been empty for an extended period of time.  Suddenly the hustle and bustle of animals and people can cause hundreds of fleas to hatch at the same time.
Irritation is not the only problem associated with fleas, they also can carry tapeworm which can infest cats and dogs.
The best way to tell if your pet is infected with fleas is to place a piece of white paper underneath your animal, and then with a flea comb, comb any debris out of your animal’s coat concentrating on the lower back and base of the tail area. Drip water onto any material that falls off. If it turns red then you know your animal has fleas. This works because fleas consume blood only, and the flea faeces (flea dirt) that falls off is therefore dried blood.
As with any disease, the best way to treat disease is to prevent it occurring in the first place. Come in and talk to the friendly staff at VETPlus about the options you have with flea control. 
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