MYTHBUSTERS: Flea Facts and Myths

Striped Pussycat Scratching Fleas

Take this quick quiz to find out just how much you DON’T know about fleas and your pets!

1. There is one species of flea.
One of the many Wonders of the Bug World, the flea has  2,000 species worldwide  and 300 species in North America.

2. The domestic cat flea species is also found on dogs.
The scientific name for this species is Ctenocephalides felis. This species of flea selects dogs, cats, and humans as its preferred hosts.

3. Fleas are becoming immune to our Flea collars and treatments.

Dr. Mike Dryden, of Kansas State Veterinary Medicine, did a study on apparent failure of flea products. He visited 1,000 homes in the Tampa, Florida area, all of whom said that they were using preventative appropriately. In all of those homes he found no real evidence of flea resistance, and in all but one or two found that the client had the wrong understanding of fleas and how the products work or weren’t using them properly. There is little to no evidence of any sort that fleas have developed any resistance to products released in the last few years, and these products are actually very effective.

4. Fleas lay 100’s or 1,000’s of eggs each day
Fleas lay between 30-40 eggs each day.Flea

5. Fleas infest, grow,  and live on your pets.
Fleas enter the house on one of your furry-footed pets, but then they make a home in the carpets, bedding, pet beds, and upholstered furniture. There the flea eggs grow to larvae, then adults and hop on your pet again

6. In winter, pet owners don’t need to worry about fleas.
Although you may not see them in the winter in cold climates, fleas can live quite comfortably in your house, as well as on wildlife. If your pet or your house had fleas during the warm months, you’re likely to have fleas during the winter months as well. If your pet goes outdoors and may have contact with squirrels, birds, or other wildlife, they can still get fleas. And, of course, fleas live happily in warm climates all year long, so flea control is a year-round battle.

7. Fleas hatch from eggs, then still have to go through a larval stage, before they are adults and bite your pet.
Adult fleas are only 5% of the flea population. If you’re not treating your house and yard, you’re missing the eggs, larvae, and cocoons, which account for the other 95 percent.

Don’t underestimate this external parasite, the common flea reigns supreme during North Carolina summers!

Do Pets Get Spring Allergies? But Of Course!

Itches Puppy

They actually inherit them from their parents, just like humans. In the Springtime, the allergies can be classified into either atopic or flea allergies.

Atopic allergies result from an inhaled allergen, such as pollen, house dust, or mold and often result in a skin reaction. The skin can  become dry and flaky, causing your pet to scratch the area excessively.

Flea allergies occur when the dog’s body has a reaction to a protein in flea saliva (that’s right!) Remarkably, it only takes one flea bite to trigger a reaction in a sensitive dog!

“If left untreated, dogs and cats with seasonal allergies will scratch or lick themselves constantly. In an attempt to relieve themselves, dogs and cats often create sores that become secondary infections.” -AAHA.

So, to cure your pet’s vicious circle of scratching/licking/infection -try one of the remedies below!

For Cats
Spring irritants:  Trees, grass, weed, mold, mildew and dust pollens,  Fleas and flea-control products

Signs of allergy include:    

•        Itchy skin/increased scratching
•        Sneezing, coughing (if the cat has asthma), wheezing
•        Itchy, runny eyes
•        Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly seen in flea allergies)
•        Itchy ears and ear infections
•        Vomiting
•        Diarrhea
•        Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
•        Paw chewing/swollen paws

1.  Benadryl (both oral and topical)
2. fish oil or other herbal essence
3. wet tea bags
4. weekly shampooing with an all natural PABA shampoo (example: Septiderm Skin Care Bath)

For Dogs
Spring irritants: House dust mites,  pollen,  mold,  trees and grasses, fleas, and even your unsuspecting household cat.

Signs of allergy include:
•        Open sores and loss of hair in one area
•        Scratching
•        Biting and chewing on paws and legs
•        Runny, itchy, stuffy nose
•        Sneezing
•        Paw chewing/swollen paws

1.  medicated shampoos
2. topical sprays that can help soothe your dog’s itchy skin
3. oatmeal bath helps eliminate the itch temporarily
4. antibiotics may be necessary if the allergy is severe; ask for a Topical steroid spray.
5. Some natural products include: Clora Care – a natural antibiotic solution as well as tea tree and coconut oils.
6. Finally, dogs can get allergy shots, a form of immunotherapy

Finally, remember to consult your veterinarian on which products are best for your furry friend!