Fleas and Ticks
Fleas are persistent, nasty, tough to kill and can make people and pets miserable!!
With up to 90% of flea infestations occurring in your home, flea control in dogs and cats is essential in animals that have access to the outdoors or are in contact with other animals.
The good news is regular flea control can be effective with many varieties available; these products are unique in that they not only treat the animal, but also the environment. Many herbal and homeopathic treatments are ineffective and most over the counter non veterinary flea products simply do not work. It is recommended to consult our veterinarian before deciding on a flea protocol. Traditionally flea allergies were confined to the warmer months of the year but with more and more animals having access to indoors flea problems can become all year round.
The flea apart from being a nuisance has a complex and amazing 4 stage life cycle, which is designed to protect and give the greatest opportunity to re-produce.
Flea Life Cycle
Stage 1 – The eggs are laid in the hair against the skin, these eggs are not sticky which mean they can easily drop off into the environment onto beds and in carpets. They can survive for many years in this form under the right environmental conditions. An adult female flea can lay up to 15-20 eggs per day with up to 600 in her lifespan, the eggs can hatch within 2-10 days.
Stage 2 – After hatching into larvae they burrow deep into bedding and carpets due to being blind and preferring to avoid bright light. They do not suck blood at this stage; their source of nutrition is flea faecal matter. The faecal matter can be evident on your pets coat as small black specks resembling grains of rice. A simple test to confirm this is to use a fine tooth comb to brush through your pets’ fur. Place the contents of the comb onto a damp piece of kitchen towel to see if the specks turn reddish brown.
Stage 3 – The pupal stage is when the larvae spin a cocoon of pupae in which the immature flea will spend 8-9 days. The pupae do not feed but tend to cause skin irritation on the animal, they will lay dormant and emerge when a host is present.
Stage 4 – The flea BITES dogs, cats, rabbits and humans. The flea saliva causes an allergic reaction which can lead to scabs, flakey dry skin and even hair loss. The adult flea cannot reproduce unless they have had a feed but can stay in hibernation for long periods of time.
Control of fleas must be aimed at eliminating fleas from your pet and strict environmental control.
The main products sold and recommended from the surgery is Nexgard (Dogs) or Prinovox for dogs and cats. In severe cases of flea infestation in your house we also recommend an environmental spray called Indorex to be applied to the areas where your pet has access to. Daily vacuum cleaning and weekly washing of pet’s bedding at 60 degrees Celsius to help eliminate the flea eggs, larvae and pupae are an integral part of flea control. All your pets must be treated at the same time!
Several types of ticks are commonly found on dogs and cats in the UK, pets are likely to be exposed to ticks in areas of heath land, moorland or woodland. Most ticks are often picked up from the garden, parks and kennels. The sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus (also known as the deer tick), the hedgehog tick Ixodes hexagonus and the British dog ticks Ixodes canisuga are the most common ticks and can infest pets and humans.
Ticks cause direct problems for our pets by their physical presence, local irritation and local infections. Worse still, all life stages of ticks can carry diseases that can cause serious health problems both for pets and humans. In the UK, most of the diseases are uncommon in dogs and cats, but due to their serious potentially life-threatening nature, they are very important when they occur.
A tick's life cycle can take several years, the species found in the UK are all 'three host' ticks with life cycles between 2 and 6 years. Each developmental stage of a tick's life requires a blood meal in order to reach the next stage.
The most common endemic tick-borne disease in the UK is Borrelia burgdorferi which is Lyme disease. This is a bacterial disease transmitted by ticks from sheep and deer and causes fever, lameness, loss of appetite and general malaise. It is often treatable with antibiotics, although It is rare in the area that surrounds Bisley Veterinary Surgery and to date we have not diagnosed a case, but this is a disease that can be transfered to humans.
There are a number of potentially fatal tick-borne diseases in Europe and when travelling with your pets to these destinations, appropriate treatment on a monthly basis must be undertaken.
Other appropriate measure to limit the potential transmission of disease to your pet is to carefully remove ticks within 48 hours of attachment, at the surgery we sell a tick removal device called an O’Tom to help aid removal. On some occasions whilst removing a tick the mouthpart can be left behind, in these situations do not panic. Your pet may get a little red raised bump but over a period of 3-7 days the body will heal this automatically. Some pets skin may react to the removed tick and any signs of swelling, wound seepage and bruising should be reported to the Vet immediatly.
We sell numerous products that can be used on a monthly basis to help treat and prevent tick infestations in your pet. Nexgard is available for dogs and Frontline Combo for dogs and cats.
For further information please contact the surgery or pop by to ask one of the friendly members of staff.