Fleas on dogs and cats!
These small dark brown insects prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees and humidity levels of 75-85%... Some areas of the country they are more than just a ?summer? problem. Dogs and cats often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. The strong back legs of this insect enable it to jump from host to host or from the environment onto the host. (Fleas do not have wings so cannot fly!) The flea?s bite can cause itching for the host but for a sensitive or flea-allergic animal, this itching can be quite severe and leads to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Some pets, hypersensitive to the flea's saliva, will itch all over from the bite of even a single flea! The flea information presented here will focus on treatment for and prevention of fleas, which, let?s face it, is just as important to the pet as it is to the pet's caretakers!
How do you know if fleas are causing all that itching (called pruritus)? Generally, unlike the burrowing, microscopic Demodex or Scabies Mites, fleas can be seen scurrying along the surface of the skin. Dark copper colored and about the size of the head of a pin, fleas dislike light so looking for them within furry areas and on the pet's belly and inner thighs will provide your best chances of spotting them. Look for "flea dirt", too. "Flea dirt" looks like dark specks of pepper scattered on the skin surface. See the image of flea dirt near the bottom-right of this article. If you see flea dirt, which is actually flea feces and is composed of digested blood, pick some off the pet and place on a wet paper towel. If after a few minutes the tiny specks spread out like a small blood stain... it's definitely flea dirt and your pet has fleas! Flea dirt may be your only evidence of a flea infestation but believe the evidence! If there is flea dirt there are surely fleas present. You need to begin your war on the pests.