Article - Fleas
|Fleas and Ticks are annoying and can be a serious health
hazard to your dog or cat unless you take steps to erradicate these pests.
Please be aware of the warning signs before they result
in ailments that reduce your dogs level of health.
Be aware of the following warning signs that indicate
the existence of fleas on your pet:
BLACK SPECKS -- black specks on your pet or in your
pet's bed could be flea dirt, which is feces from the adult fleas. There
are two easy ways to check for black specks:
Flea Comb -- available from your veterinarian, pet supply
stores or catalogs (the metal ones are the best). Run the comb over your
pet, making sure the comb reaches the skin through the coat. If black specks
are on the comb when you pull it off, they may be flea dirt. If fleas are
on the comb, drown them in a bowl of soapy water before they can get away
or jump back on your pet.
White paper towel -- place a white paper towel beneath your
pet and rub your hands across its fur. If black specks appear on the towel,
they may be flea dirt. If a drop of water is placed on the specks and it
turns red, that concludes that it's flea dirt.
AGITATION/SCRATCHING -- your pet will become very
nervous, annoyed and will scratch excessively if infested with fleas.
This can result in sores commonly known as "hot spots" and can trigger
infection requiring a trip to the veterinarian for appropriate medical
care. Sulfodene, a product found in most grocery stores in the pet isle
is one of the most useful over-the-counter medications that can be used
safely for "hot spots" helping to soothe and heal the area.
A flea-free environment is the answer to a healthy animal
along with other factors, but if you must use flea control, please make
sure you use them with common sense. Topical applications such as
Advantage or Frontline are once-a-month products, but if your flea problem
is not extensive, you will find that they last considerably longer and
it is not necessary to reapply every month. Treating your home, yard and
dog well the first time will dramatically change your need to continue
with any chemicals. Dips are chemicals and should be used with absolute
caution. Flea sprays contain alcohol and chemical, and should be used sparingly.
If your animal shows an extreme amount of fleas, please, please have them
checked by your vet. Healthy dogs who are exposed to a flea environment
will have a substantially lower number on them. A dog in poor health, whose
immune system is down for some reason will be a magnet to fleas, indicating
a quick need to have the dog visit the vet to determine if there is an
underlying problem that can be brought to your attention and corrected.
Fleas can affect your pet's health in the following ways:
Suggestions to keeping the living quarters flea-free
FLEA ALLERGY DERMATITIS (FAD) -- when a flea bites
your pet, it deposits a small amount of saliva in the skin. Your pet can
develop FAD in reaction to this saliva, which causes severe itching. In
addition to your pet scratching or biting excessively around the tail,
groin or backside, scabs or bumps may also appear on your pet's neck or
back. One flea can trigger this reaction.
ANEMIA -- occurs in young, older or ill pets if too
many fleas suck their blood. The symptoms of anemia include pale gums,
weakness and lethargy in your pet.
You can lower your pet's risk of getting these flea-bite
related ailments by regularly grooming your dog, keeping the living quarters
flea free and observing any changes in their behavior.
If you believe that your pet is suffering from any of
the above ailments, consult your veteranarian.
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VACUUMING -- vacuum frequently wherever your pet has
been, especially in your car (if your pet rides in your car), around any
carpeted area in your home and on any furniture that is frequented by your
pet in order to clean up as many immature fleas (eggs, larvae and pupae)
WASHING -- wash your pet's bedding, blanket and other
washable items frequently in the hottest water possible (check the laundering
instructions to make sure that washing in hot water isn't a problem). Flea
larvae, when hatched will look like little wiggly string, no longer than
an 1/8inch long.
YARDWORK -- mow your lawn and rake up any leaves,
brush or clippings.
If chemicals are used, please read the instructions and use
them with extreme care!
These health articles are not meant to keep your dog
from having a proper medical evaluations or treatment if needed. If you
are having a problem with your dog, please seek proper medical attention
first. These articals are meant for general information only and are not
endorsed by any veterinarian or DORG magazine -- DORG
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