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Does your pet have unwanted guests?

31 August 2016

With the recent hot weather, it’s important to remember that many of our houses will be visited by microscopic unwanted guests this summer. Fleas are blood sucking insects found just about everywhere in the UK.

The cat flea is the main problem for our pets, with adult fleas feeding on cats, dogs, wild animals and sometimes humans! In fact they are not very selective when it comes to their next blood meal.

 

Fleas are the most common skin parasites found on dogs

A flea

 

Some pets develop an allergic reaction to the bite of fleas, and develop an intensely itchy rash. In these animals, fleas are sometimes not seen, as the numbers are very low and pets are so effective at grooming them off! However, it is usually still possible to find evidence that fleas have been there by analysing a brushing of the pets coat under a microscope. This will reveal the ‘flea dirt’ (or dried blood) that is often not visible to the naked eye.

Management of a flea problem can be tricky, and involves treating all the animals in the house, as well as thorough cleaning and decontamination of the home environment.

If you suspect your pets might have fleas or a flea allergy, make sure you discuss the options with your vet.

 

Coils of dried blood or ‘flea dirt’ from a coat brushing of a dog

Coils of dried blood or ‘flea dirt’ from a coat brushing of a dog

 

If you would like to learn more about parasite control for your particular pet, please see our more detailed information sheets about worms in dogs and cats. Fleas, mites and ticks are discussed in more detail in our Ectoparasites in dogs and Ectoparasites in cats information sheets, whilst rabbit owners may learn more in our Parasites in rabbits fact sheet.