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The Problem Of Having A Dog With Fleas

Jul 31, 2008
Fleas may be hard to detect, particularly on dark haired dogs, but when skin inflammation occurs around the base of the tail, fleas are a suspicion.

Flea bites cause itching of the entire body and can lead to infection. Fleas do not parasitise aquatic mammals such as whales and seals. They are not often found on ungulates and other roving mammals because they have no permanent nest for the fleas to lay their eggs. Fleas are one of the most common ectoparasites of companion animals and feed on the blood of their hosts.

The blood intake of a female flea can be equivalent to more than 15 times its body weight.
Fleas can jump tremendous distances for their size, and are difficult to remove manually from pets. Fleas often repair minor damage to the wax layer, but the vacuum machinery must penetrate this protective layer to such a degree that wax coating is irreparable.

I know what you are thinking: Fleas are the worst! Fleas pass through a complete metamorphosis life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult. A typical flea population consists of 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae and 5% adults. Tick collars and powders are not always effective, and may be harmful to your animals. Before using any pesticide, always read directions and warnings carefully.

Ticks may carry and transmit diseases, including Lyme disease, that can cause serious health problems. It's important to check your pet regularly for ticks.

Dogs may have an allergic reaction after eating certain foods or commercial dog food ingredients such as wheat, soy or beef, said Bagladi-Swanson. Dogs and cats scratch constantly when heavily infested, resulting in soiled and roughened coats and, sometimes, in nervous conditions. The most serious effects occur when a pet develops an allergy to flea bites.

Eggs are 50% of the flea population in your house, or over 10 times as many as adults, which explains why they can be hard to exterminate! Eggs will hatch on the ground, in nests, carpet, bedding, upholstery or cracks in the floor. Most hatch within seven to fourteen days.

Adult fleas feed on blood, while their larvae feed on organic debris. Adult fleas want to spend all of their time on your tasty pet, so they aren't hard to find. Both male and female fleas love to drink blood, and after a good blood meal the females will lay about 40 eggs per day. Adult fleas emerge from the cocoon when proper stimulation is present, including vibration, increased carbon dioxide levels, heat and motion. The adult can emerge from the cocoon very quickly and immediately jump on the host.

Larval and nymph stages (immature ticks that cannot reproduce) of the deer tick feed on birds and small mammals. The adult female tick needs a large 3 day blood meal from the deer before she can reproduce and lay her 2000 or more eggs. Larvae are rarely infected.

The lone star tick and the American dog tick also require an extended period of attachment for transmission to occur, but research on this and infection rates are not well defined. Larvae appear in the spring and again in the fall, but are not usually encountered in the middle of the summer.
About the Author
Joaquin uses frontline flea control, and frontline plus for dogs .
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