Fleas

Fleas are one of the most common parasites caught by pet cats, dogs and other furry pets. It is thought particularly that every cat and dog will suffer an infestation of fleas at some point in their lives. Not only are fleas inconvenient, but they can be very irritable to your pet and make it very unhappy.

Below are some very interesting articles about fleas which may be of help should you worry about the possibility of a flea infestation.

How To Prevent Fleas

Preventative measures for fleas are key to a happy and peaceful relationship with your dog, cat, or pet. The first tip is to use medicated drops on a regular basis, most are monthly - follow the directions of the medication along with advice from your local veterinarian.

Another preventative measure is to avoid contact with stray animals and wildlife. If you are going camping, consider keeping your pet on a leash, avoid grassy less trafficked paths and consider using a flea collar and other medications during your camping trips.

If your pet is unfortunate to contract and infestation of fleas, it is recommended to keep him or her separated from the rest of your pets and family, so as not to spread the fleas throughout your home and family.

Remember, that fleas can jump up to 13 inches and therefore you do not have to come in contact with a flea infested pet or host. You simply need a pulse, heat, and carbon dioxide. The fleas can sense the host and will jump to reach the host for a more favourable habitat and food.

When cleaning your pet, whether weekly or monthly, consider using a preventive flea shampoo. This will add another measure of protection by killing any fleas that may have infested the pet if the collar or drops lost their effectiveness.

Regularly clean the bedding, clothes, blankets, and toys.  Also, keep a flea collar in the vacuum bag and empty the vacuum bag immediately after vacuuming if any fleas are suspected or present.

The flea life cycle is disrupted when temperature drops below 70 degree F and or excessive drops in humidity occur. So a careful cold wash of the pet’s bedding or leaving the articles outside during the freezing cold can help keep a potential flea infestation at in check as long as other measures are used.

Preventative measures can help avoid rashes and irritation for your pets. Most importantly, it helps keep viruses, plagues, and other diseases out of your home, keeping both your pets and your family safe and healthy.

It is easier to prevent fleas than it is to get rid of an infestation. It can take up to 6 months to remove a flea infestation completely as different stages of the flea life cycle can persist in different hidden areas of the home and pets environment, avoiding the reach of the vacuum or other physical and chemical measure to exterminate them.  If you suspect a flea infestation, contact your local veterinarian and work out a professional plan of prevention or extermination immediately.  The longer you wait, the more difficult the problem can become.

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Flea Anatomy

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Fleas: Tiny Body, Big Appetite

With over 2000 known varieties of fleas in existence, these tiny jumping bugs are a world-wide nuisance to warm-blooded vertebrates! Almost everyone knows something about fleas; tiny, dark, jumping bugs that suck blood and leave behind itchy red marks. But here are 10 other interesting things about fleas:

  1. The most common flea infesting domestic cats and dogs in the world is the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis.

  2. Adult Fleas are hematophagous; they only eat blood.

  3. Fleas have dark, laterally flattened bodies. This means that when you look at a flea head on they appear to be very thin; their bodies are flattened from side to side. This enables a flea to easily move between the hairs or feathers of its host.

  4. Fleas have no wings, and rely solely on their ability to jump from the environment onto their host. Like other insects, fleas have 6 legs. Their hind legs are by far the longest and strongest and account for the flea's incredible jumping ability.

  5. Fleas are able to jump approximately 7 inches vertically, and 13 inches horizontally. For a tiny creature measuring only about 1/6” to 1/8” in length, it is able to jump about 200 times its own body length! That is the equivalent of an average 6 foot man being able to jump the distance of four football fields put end to end.

  6. There are four stages in a flea's life cycle: the egg, larva, pupa and adult.

  7. flea eggs

  8. An adult female must first have a meal of blood before she is able to lay approximately 40 - 50 eggs a day. These tiny, white, oval eggs are laid in the host animals fur, but shortly thereafter roll off. Larvae and pupae develop in the environment.

  9. Flea larvae are considered to be negatively phototaxic. This means that although flea larvae are completely blind, they are able to sense light and avoid it as much as possible.

  10. Emerged flea adults can only survive for about 1 week without having a blood meal. However, fully developed adults that remain in the pupa stage can survive for several months until the conditions are right for the adult to emerge. The right conditions for emergence include a suitable temperature and humidity, pressure, vibration and the presence of CO2, indicating that a suitable host animal is near.

  11. It is due to this dormant period for pupae that any measures taken to eradicate a flea population must be conducted over a period of at least 6 months to ensure that all fleas are killed. Any remaining pupae in the environment can emerge as adults and the whole flea cycle can begin again.

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Flea Classification

Kingdom:
Animalia
Division:
Rhopalocera
Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Subclass:
Pterygota
Infra Class
Neoptera
Superorder:
Endopterygota
Order:
Siphonaptera
Infra Orders
Ceratophyllomorpha Hystrichopsyllomorpha Pulicomorpha Pygiopsyllomorpha
flea
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