How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?

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Fleas are small dark brown insects that infest your pet and feed on their blood. Fleas prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees and humidity levels of 75-85 percent. 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.

 

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!

 

Fleas can be seen scurrying along the surface of the skin if you look closely at your pet. Dark 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. They can be very challenging to find sometimes, especially on cats so you can also look for “flea dirt”. Flea dirt are tiny specks of flea droppings that they leave on your pet’s skin that look like small pieces of dirt. If you wipe some of this dirt onto a wet paper towel it will actually dry as small smears of blood which is what flea dirt mostly consists of.

 

Fleas also are a host to tapeworms, your pet may require a dose of a dewormer to rid them of this parasite. Preventing the fleas from infesting and biting your animal is important. At Bell Veterinary Clinic we have researched the various flea and tick preventives and will be happy to make a recommendation for your pet. We have taken the worry away from choosing the right preventative for you so you can focus on your pet and busy schedules.

 

To schedule an appointment please call Bell Veterinary Clinic at : 810-678-3938 or click here to schedule online.