Got fleas in your home? That's easy to fix. Just move.
No. Just kidding.
But controlling fleas in your environment can be difficult and typically involves a few steps.
Step 1: Treat your pet for fleas -- and flea eggs -- continually. Put flea product on all your pets regularly, for several months in a row. I know this sounds simple, but these products will kill adult fleas so that they cannot lay any more eggs. You also want to continue with the treatment for many months in a row, so that any new fleas that hatch on your pet or in your environment will be killed, as well. Check with your veterinarian about which product will work best for your pet. There may be certain products that are safer to use, depending on your pet's health.
Step 2: Treat all your pets. If you only treat one of your pets, fleas can survive on the pets that have not been treated. Fleas have been around for a long time. So obviously they know how to beat the odds. As you can imagine, unless you treat all of your pets at once, the fleas can re-infest, and it will be extremely difficult to ever completely clear them from your environment.
Step 3: Treat your house. Clean and wash all beddings or furniture where your pets sleep or spend lots of time. Live fleas drop their eggs in and around where your pets live. So if your pet spends a lot of time on her bed, make sure you wash that entire area. You will also need to clean and vacuum your house, paying special attention to the nooks and crannies under the couch or beneath the tables. Fleas like to lay their eggs in cool, dark places. So clean carefully in those areas. But use caution. There are many products available to help kill flea eggs. And before you use any of them, make sure they are approved by the EPA and that you're following the directions properly.
Step 4: Treat your yard. Treating the inside of your home is important for getting rid of fleas. But you have to also treat the areas where the fleas live outside. Mowing tall grass and clearing out yard debris is a great way to start. Fleas like to live in moist, darker areas, like under brush, trees, and in crawl spaces. So start with those areas. Many people also treat their yards as well as their fence lines. Again, use an EPA-approved product. And read and follow the directions closely.
Step 5: Continue treatment after you stop seeing fleas. Many times, pet owners will see that the fleas have been cleared with the above steps. So they may stop using the treatment. But then the fleas come back!
Remember, fleas have been around for a long time, so they are crafty! You have to keep up the preventative treatments for months after you've spotted your last live flea in order to prevent them from coming back. So remain vigilant and assume that fleas are out there even if you don't see them.
With persistence, you and your pets can emerge victorious.View Thread
Is ringworm really a worm? No. Actually, ringworm is a group fungus that feeds on dead skin. In humans, it presents as a very distinctive circular lesion in the skin. The lesion is typically red and raised and scaly on the edges, while the center starts to heal.
In animals, these lesions tend to be scaly and vary in appearance. They can look similar to many other types of lesions, which can make reaching the proper diagnosis difficult.
1. Ringworm fungi are very resilient in the environment. But they require a broken or scratched skin site in order to produce spores and spread from one host to another. 2. Although ringworm may cause some unsightly skin lesions, in general, it does not cause too extensive of a disease in its hosts. 3. Some animals are carriers, meaning they never show any signs of ringworm. But they are constantly dropping spores and potentially infecting others. 4. Some people are more susceptible to these ringworm fungi than others. The young, elderly, or immune-compromised people are more prone to pick up a ringworm infection.
How Ringworm is Diagnosed
- Wood's Light Examination: This is a very simple test, which can be done in your vet's office. When held near the lesion, the Wood's lamp's ultraviolet light causes the ringworm to fluoresce green. Unfortunately, this exam will catch only about 50% of ringworm infections, because half of these infections will not turn green under the light. - Microscopic Examination: Sometimes the fungal spores are visible on a host's hair under a microscope. But they are difficult to see. So they can be missed in about half of the cases with this exam, as well. - Fungal Culture: For this culture, a sample of hair is plucked from the skin and placed in a dish to allow any present fungi to grow. This test makes it possible for your vet to tell if there is ringworm present and exactly which fungi are causing the problem. - Skin Biopsy: Sometimes a ringworm infection is so deep in the skin that the only way it can be found is by removing a small piece of skin or tissue and observing it microscopically for any fungi.
How Ringworm is Treated Pets with ringworm need to be isolated during treatment. Otherwise, they will continue shedding fungal spores in your home. Disinfecting the environment is also important during this time.
In my practice, I typically treat pets with oral medication and dips and baths. Many times the type of treatment your vet will use depends on your pet's age and any other medical problems your pet might have.
If you are concerned that your pet has ringworm, make an appointment with your vet. He or she can decide what tests to run and which treatment will work best for your pet. View Thread
There are NO dog or cat breeds that are completely resistant to fleas.
Some pet owners like to believe otherwise, because they have one dog in their household who "gets fleas", and another dog who "doesn't get fleas". But in reality, the dog that they accuse of having fleas may be itchier because he may have an allergy to fleas. The other dog (the supposedly "resistant" dog) most likely has the same number of fleas, but without the allergy. So that dog is showing no signs.
I also hear people make this claim because of the kinds of hair their dogs have. A light colored or short-haired dog presents an easier surface on which to find fleas. Whereas, a large, full-coated dog, such as a Chow, presents an extremely difficult palette for finding them. Fleas are really good at hiding out on thick-coated pets. So remember, just because you cannot find them, doesn't always mean fleas are not there.
It's OK to want to believe that your pet is resistant to fleas. But it becomes a problem when you have one pet who you think is resistant, and another who clearly reacts to fleas. In order to properly treat a pet that clearly has fleas, you and your vet will have to work to kill all the fleas in the environment, including those that probably live on your other, so-called resistant pet. When I tell owners that we need to treat all their pets for fleas, it can sometimes be a hard sell. I have to convince them that it is important to treat all the pets in their household, because it only takes one or two fleas to set off a reaction in a flea-allergic pet. Unless owners believe me -- that no pets are resistant to fleas and that getting rid of them requires treating the entire household -- it is extremely difficult to control the fleas and their pet's allergies to them.
The truth is all pets can get fleas, but some will just react more than others. So even if you think your pet is resistant to fleas, be sure to use regular flea protection for them.View Thread
I am so glad your pet is doing better. Finding the right food can be a long process. You are also doing a great job of managing the other disease at the same time - the bacterial infection and low thyroid. Keep up the good work.View Thread
This is a common complaint I get at my practice. Owners get very frustrated and feel bad about their pet possibly being uncomfortable. Many also get upset because they spend lots of money on medication, only to have the itching and scratching return as soon as the medication is stopped.
When I talk to owners about their pets' constant scratching I ask them lots of questions to determine if their pets have any food allergies. Food allergies are very hard to diagnose and it can take a lot of time and observation. Some things I ask pet owners to think about in these instances include:
* When does the itching and scratching occur? * Is there a pattern to the areas their pets are scratching? * What types of foods are they feeding? * Have they recently switched pet foods? * Is the scratching getting better or worse? * Do they give their pets any treats? If so, what type and how often?
Changing Your Pet's Diet If you look online at "food for food allergies in pets", you'll see many food types and brands, as well as different opinions about all of them. After years of trying to figure out what's best, I've concluded that every pet is different. I have seen improvement in many pets' food allergies on commercial diets, over-the-counter diets, diets with limited ingredients, home cooked diets, and raw food diets. I've also seen an equal number of pets get worse on these same diets.
The diet that works for one animal may not work for another. And it can take time to work through different pet diets until you find the one that helps your own pet. If I suspect a food allergy in one of my patients, typically I have the owner:
* Start with a protein source that the pet has never tried before. If the pet has been eating a chicken-based diet, I'll recommend changing to a fish-based diet. * Look at the amount of grains in the pet food and shoot for a grain-free diet. * Keep the pet on the prescribed diet for 6 to 8 weeks, meaning no treats, no rawhide"026 nothing but the specific foods allotted. * Consider other pet care products you are using, such as heartworm or flea prevention. Some of these products taken orally have beef or pork flavoring, which also may interfere with a food trial. As you can imagine, pet food trials are hard to do in real life. So if you think your pet has a food allergy, build up your patience and talk with your vet. It may take time to figure out which diet is best. But if you find it, the allergic reactions could disappear altogether, making all the time and effort worth it.
Have you ever had a pet diagnosed with food allergies? Share your experiences with the Community about your pets' food allergies how you've been able to cope.View Thread
While there are many zoonotic diseases -- diseases your pets can have and give to you -- there are also diseases which are pet-specific and that do not travel between humans and animals. Here is a list of some of those diseases which are pet-specific, but are sometimes misunderstood as a threat to humans:
FIV Commonly known as Feline AIDS, this is a virus that cats can have which affects their immune system. It is the result of a lentivirus and will cause infected cats to become vulnerable to other diseases, such as lymphoma. However, some cats can have FIV and not have any long term effects.
Canine Distemper Virus This virus can be very devastating for dogs. It starts as a respiratory infection, becomes an intestinal disease, and can ultimately cause seizures. Fortunately, wide spread vaccination has done a wonderful job of eliminating the disease in dogs who are vaccinated. Although humans can pick up the virus, it does not cause any diseases in humans.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) FeLV decreases the immune system in cats. FeLV-positive cats are more susceptible to contracting other diseases, so good hygiene is always a must for infected cats and their owners.
Parvo Virus Even though there are many human versions of the parvo virus, these are not the same as that which causes parvo virus infections in dogs. So if your dog does become infected with the parvo virus, you and your household are not at risk. However, good hygiene is necessary for the entire household, because dogs infected with parvo can also have other diseases that they can spread to you, such as worms.
Kennel Cough Kennel cough is caused by bacteria and viral components. The viral portion is a very species-specific virus to dogs. While there are viruses very similar to kennel cough that can make humans sick, the kennel cough virus your dog has will not be spread to you.
It's important to remember that, even if your pet has one of these diseases which are not known to cause problems in people, your pet may also have other infections that are known to cause problems in humans. I always recommend good hygienic habits when handling any affected animals to lessen the possibility of secondary or co-infections.
Have any of your pets been affected by these diseases? If so, what did you do to protect your pet from secondary infections?View Thread
You may be wondering if you have pets that are not cats or dogs, do you need to worry about them having fleas. The answer is yes. Fleas are a very broad classification of wingless, sucking insects. There are over 2,000 different types of fleas, particular to certain hosts such as the dog flea, cat flea, rat flea, rodent flea, bird flea, and so on. They usually prefer one type of host, but have no problem catching a ride or getting a meal on any warm creature.
In my practice, we see fleas on all different types of animals, including rodents, dogs and cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchilla, and ferrets. However, the most common type of flea that we see is the cat flea. This flea will survive on cats, dogs, and other mammals. The oriental cat flea was actually responsible for transmitting Yersinia pestis; the bacteria responsible for the Black Plague and for the death of 30% to 60% of the European population between 1348 and 1350.
There are also human fleas, sand fleas, and chicken fleas.
All these different types of fleas should help you realize that if you have flea problem you have to treat all pets and your whole home and living environment in order to get rid of it.
Do you have any pets that are not dogs or cats? What has been your method of avoiding fleas for these pets?View Thread