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Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Cats and dogs are two of the preferred hosts for fleas.  Fleas can infest your dog, cat, and home. Once on your per they don't just stay there, they can bite you too!!

Adult fleas are small, flat, wingless parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. Once a host is located, the flea prefers to remain on that host until it is dislodged or dies. Fleas can bite humans, although they prefer dogs, cats and other mammals. Fleas prosper in warm humid environments, temperature and humidity changes can affect the length and success of their cycles. 

When a flea finds an unprotected dog or cat, it will bite and feed on the pet's blood. The next step is reproduction. The fleas cycle involves an egg, larva, pupa and adult. The flea eggs are laid in the pet's hair coat but fall off and hatch in the environment. A female flea will start laying eggs 20-24 hours after it's first blood meal. A female flea can lay as many as 50 eggs per day.

Flea Eggs: 

  • They hatch in 1 1/2 - 6 days depending on temperature

  • They are smooth, oval, pearlescent, approximately 0.5mm or 1/64 of an inch long, and are visible to the naked eye

  • They are normally found in pets bedding, dog houses, or favorite resting areas.

  • Represent approximately 34% of the flea population

Flea Larvae:

  • Represent approximately 57% of the flea population

  • Larvae is mainly found in pet's favorite resting spot

  • Larvae avoids sunlight. They like dark or shaded places

  • They feed on adult flea excrement (flea dirt)

  • Larvae are legless and have a whitish maggot like appearance. They are approximately 3mm long.

Pupa:

  • Represents approximately 8% of the flea population

  • Larvae forms cocoons by secreting a stick substance and debris from surrounding areas to camouflage themselves.

  • The cocoon provides a protective barrier

  • Pupa transforms from larval form to a flea inside the cocoon

  • Cocoons can lay dormant if they are not stimulated to hatch

Adult Flea:

  • Represent approximately 1% of the flea population

  • They are wingless and range from 1/32 to 1/8 of an inch in length.

  • They are brownish-black in color

  • Fleas jump on a average of 9-15 inches high

  • Average eggs laid per day is 30-45; average eggs laid in a females lifetime is 300-800.

  • Average life span on a host is about 12 days

  • Feeding periods are from 4-7 minutes in duration

  • Once a blood meal is taken the flea must feed at least every 4-6 hours

  • Adult fleas normally emerge from the cocoon in 7-10 days

  • Visual and heat stimuli are primary modes that attract adult fleas to the host

  • Once they locate a host, fleas will feed, mate, lay eggs and spend over 90% of their lives on the host.

  • Adult fleas are stimulated to emerge from their cocoon by vibrations or change in temperature. 

Signs of a Flea infestation:

  • Unusual amount of chewing and licking

  • Black specks  on the skin or coat of your pet. 

  • Hair loss or red patches

  • Rice like segments near rear (tapeworms)

  • Flea dirt (similar to coffee grounds)

Keep in mind that the adult fleas on a pet with an infestation represent only 5% of the fleas involved. 95% of the related fleas are in the egg, larva and pupa form wherever the pet likes to rest.

Flea bites can also cause bacterial infections and allergic reactions. Flea Allergy dermatitis is an uncomfortable inflammatory skin disease that is the most common skin disorder in pets where the pet is allergic to certain toxins in the flea's saliva. Fleas can also cause anemia most commonly found in puppies and kittens or smaller adult pets. They also can transmit tapeworms to cats and dogs).

Fleas lay eggs that fall off your pet into your home, particularly where they spend most of their time. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which spin cocoons and become pupae. The pupae develop into an adult flea. It is important to realize that the fleas you see on your pet only make up a small percentage of what is actually in your home. Fleas can lay 40-50 eggs per day and can continue to breed indoors all year. 

You don't want these little parasites on your pet in your home.All pets in the household need to be on a monthly flea preventative.  We can help you! Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventative today.

If you still see fleas on your pet even with using a monthly preventative please remember that fleas still have to get on your pet in order for the products to work. So if fleas are still seen on pets that are current on a monthly preventative, most likely there is a high flea burden in the environment.

 A high flea burden can be seen indoors if all pet's in your household are not on preventative. The fleas are usually in the carpet, pet's bedding and popular areas where your pet likes to reside in the house. If you feel you have a flea infestation in your home you should have it treated by a professional exterminator or treat yourself. The number of individual treatments necessary depend upon the degree of the infestation. Vacuum all floors, carpets, pet bedding and furniture (between cushions on the couch). You should vacuum prior to treatment and vacuum again 24 hours after treatment. You should also remove the vacuum bag after each use. 


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They are great! They fit me in for an emergency appointment same day and are very professional in manner. Dr Rutledge was so gentle with our furbaby pitbull Kilo and the service was phenomenal. Within 20 minutes of blood being drawn we found out he had Lyme. The pricing was very reasonable. I highly recommend taking your pets to this vet. I'm beyond pleased and relieved. Thank you Cherry Ridge Vet.

Liz H.
Honesdale, PA

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