Small and annoying little creatures that can spread disease -- fleas are a constant threat to our pets. Even though most of us shudder when we hear someone mention fleas, in reality most people do not know that much about them. Here are some myths and facts about fleas that every pet owner should know.
Common Myths About Fleas 1.Indoor pets do not get fleas. Wrong. Fleas can hitch a ride on you and end up in your home and on your pet.
2.Spraying for fleas in your house and in your yard will control them. False. You have to treat your pets directly to gain good control. If you are treating the environment but not the pet, fleas can still feed on your pet and lay eggs. So it's important to treat your pet and the environment at the same time.
3.If you do not have carpet in your house, fleas cannot survive. No. Fleas can live in furniture and cracks in your house. They do survive better in carpet, but fleas are resilient creatures and can live in most places.
4.If you are using a flea product on your pet, you should never see any fleas. Sorry. You may still see fleas on your pet because they have to jump on in order to be exposed to whatever flea-fighting treatment you're using. Fortunately, with active flea protection at work, they should be dying.
5.Switching flea products month to month is effective because it exposes the fleas to new chemicals. We really do not see that much resistance to our flea products. Many times a perceived resistance may happen because there are just too many fleas in the environment. The product is working, but is being overwhelmed by the abundance of fleas.
Some flea products use the glands of the animal's coat to move the chemical around and protect your pet. Other products depend on the hair itself. Some pets may respond better to one type of product over another, due to the nature of their coat or their physical features.
Flea Facts 1. The female flea is a busy creature. They will start feeding within just a few minutes of being on your pet.
2. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs per day.
3. Flea eggs, or larvae, can take 5 to 12 days to turn into pupae. Then adult fleas will emerge from the pupae anywhere between 14 and 180 days thereafter.
(Let's take a moment to do the math. Say your pet is carrying 100 female fleas — not really enough to be called an infestation, but enough for you to notice some scratching. In 1 day those fleas can produce up to 5000 eggs. And after 20 days of producing, that adds up to a possible 100,000 eggs. Then, in another 20 days that 100,000 eggs can become adult fleas, producing even more eggs of their own every day. That means a lot of fleas really fast!)
4. Temperature changes and humidity do effect the flea population. Optimal flea production occurs when the humidity is between 70% and 80% and when the temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees. Understandably, this is why fleas are always a nuisance in warmer climates.
5. Tapeworms, which are intestinal parasites, are transmitted by ingesting fleas. So yes, not only will your pet have creepy crawlies on the outside with a flea infestation, but they will get them on the inside, as well.
6. Bubonic plaque was spread through rodent fleas. Fleas would bite people after infected rodents died and spread the disease among human populations. An estimated 25 million people were killed in the 14th century due to bubonic plaque.
So there you have it! Everything you wanted to know about fleas! How do you protect your pet and home from fleas? Have you ever had to go to greater lengths to squash a flea infestation? If so, what did you do? What worked and what didn't? Share with the Community.View Thread
Yes, changing the food can help with the allergies. Many times it lets you be on fewer courses of steroids. If the steroids stop working then many times there is another problem such as yeast or bacteria. You have to make sure you are treating all the concurrent infections as well as treating the allergy. I do like the drug Atopica as an alternative for pets on steroids, however, if things are not working, it either means the pet is highly allergic or you have another concurrent problem such as yeast, flea allergy, thyroid disease, mites, or a bacterial infection. Good luck — allergies can be very frustrating.View Thread
It sounds like she has a good case of food allergies and seasonal allergies. It never hurts to get some cytology on the skin to rule it out. It might be a good idea to mention it next time you see your vet. However, I have a lot of pets like Latte who have to be on a short course steroids once to twice a year.View Thread
Sarcoptes is not seasonal because it is a mite, so talk to your veterinarian on the best way to treat them. Also a runny nose can be from allergies, but also from more serious respiratory diseases, so I would have that rabbit examined.View Thread
If you're like me, you suffer from seasonal allergies. Not only do people suffer from seasonal allergies, but so do my four-legged patients.
Pets' seasonal allergy signs are a little different than ours. Most often they include: â€¢ Ear infections â€¢ Runny eyes â€¢ For dogs, scratching under the arm pits and on their sides â€¢ For cats, intense licking and rubbing of the stomach, sides, and face
For pets with seasonal allergies, symptoms arise at the same time every year and will usually not last all year long. The pets that are itching all year long typically will have another cause for their itching. I see many pets around the same time every year for itching and scratching. Once I figure out a pattern and rule out other possible causes, I tell pet owners to start treating their pets' allergies every year before the signs start. By staying ahead of the symptoms, your vet can prescribe a lower dosage of drugs and, many times, drugs with fewer side effects. When itching and scratching is already intense, it can take more drugs at higher dosages to get it under control.
If you think your pet has seasonal allergies, talk to your veterinarian to see which therapies he or she would recommend. You'll have better success at keeping your pet comfortable by getting the jump on his symptoms as early as possible.
Have you ever had a pet with seasonal allergies? Share your experiences with the Community about what you did to prevent or relieve your pet's allergy woes?View Thread
There are times that the diagnosis can be made from the clinical signs your cat is showing and from a blood smear. If you are lucky, you can see the Mycoplasma on the outside of the red blood cells. I will typically run a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis.
Also remember if you are giving tablets of doxycycline to make sure you give some water after the pill. Doxycycline in tablet form has been know to get stuck in their throat and can cause some problems. Many times I will have it compounded into a liquid for our feline patients.View Thread
Yes, I did focus more on dogs than cats, and you are correct that we see many issues with cats related to fleas and ticks. I am rather lucky because I practice in an urban area where most of my cat patients live the good life in nice climate controlled high rises. However, even these pampered indoor cats can be exposed to fleas and ticks who catch a free ride in on a human visitor. They can suffer from flea allergies and are also susceptible to Bartonella and Mycoplasma.
Bartonella is an interesting disease and there is lots of controversy about its role in causing disease in cats. Yes, it is responsible for Cat Scratch Fever in humans and we see a higher prevalence in cats in areas where the Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is more common. Yes, we are particularly concerned about this disease in patients with impaired immune systems. In people who have impaired immune systems, I make sure they understand how important good flea control is not only for their animal but for their health as well.
Mycoplasma (the disease formerly known as Hemobartonella) might be a different story. In the lab, scientists have been able to isolate the disease in the flea after feeding off an infected cat, but they have not been able to infect a cat from these fleas, so we are still unsure if the flea is the main mode of transmission. It would make sense that the flea can spread the disease, but we have traditionally thought of bite wounds playing a role in transmission. But to be honest, we have ideas but are not exactly positive how transmission happens, so good flea control is an important way to at least prevent one possible way this disease is spread.
Cytauxzoonosis is more difficult because of the mortality rate. The mortality rate might be even higher than 50%, since many cases go unreported because pets can die rather quickly and may not even make it to our office. It does have a geographic distribution to the Southeast and is a very serious concern for our outside unprotected cats.
Stephanie, you provided us with some great information and web links on cat flea and tick control. Keep up your passion of listening to the recordings of the conferences. We are all constantly learning new things in this field.View Thread
Fleas and ticks make pet owners recoil in disgust. No one likes to consider these creepy-crawlies being on their pets, let alone possibly being on themselves. In southern states, we deal with fleas and ticks every day. They are everywhere in the environment. And unless you have proper flea and tick control, your pet will get fleas and/ or ticks sooner or later.
Besides fleas and ticks just being a nuisance, they can be harmful to your pet. Fleas can cause intense itching and scratching, which can lead to secondary skin infections. Severe infestation can also lead to a disease called flea anemia. This occurs when there are so many fleas taking blood meals from your pet that the animal actually becomes anemic, meaning the amount of red blood cells in his body are decreased. The anemia causes the pet to become very lethargic, and in the worst case, can lead to death. The good news is most pets will recover if your vet can kill the fleas and offer supportive care, such as fluids or blood transfusions if needed.
Ticks, on the other hand, can cause a whole host of illnesses, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis to name a few. These diseases are a diagnostic challenge. They can have very subtle warning signs and can occur weeks to months after the tick has bitten the pet. Because of the difficulty in diagnosing these diseases, many vets screen for these diseases on an annual basis. I also run titers for these diseases if I have a suspicion that a pet may have contracted one.
Ticks are incredibly difficult to kill. But the good news is that a tick usually has to be attached to your pet for hours to transmit these dreaded diseases. Therefore, it is wise to check your pet for ticks after a walk through dense woods or a joyful roll in the brush.
Since fleas and ticks can be a medical hazard, I stress good flea and tick control all year round to help prevent exposure to these diseases. Talk to your veterinarian. He or she can recommend how to best protect your pet based on medical history and outdoor exposure.View Thread
Thud, thud, thud... It's the dreaded sound of your pet's scratching, and keeping you up all night. Unfortunately it happens, and this lack of sleep is what typically pushes owners to bring their pets in to my office. However, by this point, the itching has usually been going on for a while, and things are pretty out of control. And it may take more drugs and office visits to straighten things back out than it would have if we had been able to see the pet when the scratching first started.
Of course, scratching in and of itself is not a bad thing. We all do it from time to time, and so do our pets. It only becomes a problem when it is excessive. Excessive scratching disrupts the natural barrier of the skin and sets your pet up for infections, commonly called "hot spots". Itching can be caused by many things, including parasites (fleas and mites), allergies (airborne or food), and allergic reactions. Each of these conditions has different treatments and very different long term prognoses.
Allergic Reactions Allergic reactions occur when your pet's system has an adverse reaction to something in the environment that we would normally deem harmless. The most common type of allergic reaction we see in the pet world is related to bees. Dogs in particular have a bad habit of chasing and eating bees. So lots of dogs get stung in the face, which causes their face to swell and become really itchy. The dog may scratch its face with its paws and/or rub its face on the ground or on your furniture. And you may not pay too much attention to the scratching. But then you look at your dog, and her face is so swollen that it looks like she went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson!
Usually an allergic reaction will subside after using a combination of antihistamines and steroids. The swelling and the itching will decrease rather quickly, and should not come back, unless, of course, your pet did not learn his lesson and he tries to eat another bee.
Allergies Allergies are as frustrating in pets as they are in people. Some pets have seasonal allergies. Some have food allergies. And many have both. Sometimes a veterinarian can figure out what your pets are allergic to, but sometimes we can't. And although allergies aren't curable, they are manageable. Treating allergies involves decreasing inflammation, which is what causes the itching. Your veterinarian can do this with drugs, bathes, and diet changes, just to name a few. The vet will also have to treat any secondary infections, such as those from bacteria or yeast. But the most effective management of allergies requires dedication and diligence on the part of the pet owner.
Fleas and Mites Although they sound terrible, fleas and mites are a very treatable cause of itching. These bugs are called ectoparasites because they will live on the skin of animals and can cause them to scratch a lot -- especially if your pet is allergic to fleas. Yes. Believe it or not, many pets are actually allergic to fleas. This means that just one or two fleas on your dog or cat could cause excessive scratching and redness. In contrast, a pet that does not have a flea allergy could be housing thousands of fleas and only scratch a little.
When fleas are involved you'll need to see your vet, who can recommend the best forms of treatment. When pet owners come into our hospital with itchy pets -- and we find fleas -- we actually celebrate. It's much better to have fleas be the cause of your pet's itching than allergies, because once you get rid of the fleas, the itching goes away.
Share your experiences with the group. Has your pet ever come down with a serious case of the itch? What was the cause, and what kind of treatment was successful for relieving it? View Thread
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