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Posted on 03-20-2013
If your pet is constantly scratching or biting at his skin, he may be suffering from a flea infestation. There are several species of flea, including Ctenocephalides felis (the "cat flea") and Ctenocephalides canis (the "dog flea"), and while each species has its preferred target, either of them can pose both an irritation and a legitimate health risk to pets and humans alike. Let us look at how fleas make themselves such a nuisance -- and how our Canton veterinarians can help you keep them at bay.
Fleas begin as eggs, hatch into larvae, then go into a cocoon-like phase as pupae before finally reaching the adult stage. The adult fleas bite their victims, drawing blood through the skin to sustain themselves as they prepare to create the next generation of eggs. These bites can cause serious health issues, ranging from tapeworms to life-threatening infections. They also irritate the skin, causing your pet to scratch until other infections threaten as well.
Regular grooming is a smart and effective way get adult fleas off of your pet before they can do further harm. Our animal hospital uses medicated baths and/or oral medications to treat such infestations. Grooming also allows us to examine the skin for dermatitis or other conditions that require their own treatments.
Prevention is the best flea control strategy. Keeping your lawn mowed may help discourage outdoor flea issues, while boric acid can safely flea-proof your carpets, bedding and other parts of the house your pet frequents. Monthly preventative medications can stop any fleas that try to make a home on your pet.
Has a flea infestation ever sent your pet to the animal hospital? Tell us about it!
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