By Dr. Scott Lackenby | Dated September 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
Working in a veterinary hospital really never has a dull moment. There is so much variety in the patients that we see, the range of illnesses and injuries that occur, […]
By David Loneragan | Dated April 27, 2015
Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are parasites. They commonly infest the coat of cats and dogs in Australia causing them constant skin irritation, becoming a real pest. Getting a flea problem under control on your cat can also be a real pest to pet owners!
Initially, a few adult fleas jump on to your cat in your garden, under the house or neighbouring places where your cat visits. Fleas are also introduced by your pet dog or visiting dogs who come to your home. The lifecycle of the flea begins from these few adults and they can breed at an enormous rate. If your cat mainly lives inside the house, the fleas prefer to breed in the home environment, such as carpets and bedding. Before you know it you have a large flea problem (infestation) that is hard to control!
Under the right temperature conditions the flea lifecycle from egg to adult is shorter (2-3 weeks). This is during spring and summer when it is warmer. During winter, the immature egg and larval stages can lie dormant in the environment for up to 6 months. Then when the temperature warms up, they all complete their life cycle and mature into adults, causing a sudden explosion of adult fleas and a massive infestation in your home! Today, with more in home heating the flea cycle often continues all year round.
The most common signs of a flea problem in cats are constant scratching, biting and itching. This is mostly around the neck, ears and the base of the tail. However many cats can have fleas and not scratch at all! It is best to look for fleas by parting the hair at the tail base. If no live fleas are seen, sometimes flea droppings are visible (small black specks). You usually see flea eggs and droppings where the cat sleeps. Flea eggs are white and the droppings are black specks. Some cats are sensitive to the saliva in the flea bite and may develop a skin infection called Flea Allergy Dermatitis.
The flea treatment for cats requires the cat AND the environment to be treated. This is because 95% of the flea population is in the environment where the cat lives. This must be properly treated to eradicate the problem. It is important to treat for and prevent fleas all year round. Just because you can’t see the fleas doesn’t mean they are not there.