How can I tell if my pet has fleas?

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Fleas are tiny, just a few millimetres long, and very fast moving, so it can be difficult to tell if your pet has fleas. Here are some signs to look out for.

 The irritation caused by flea bites can cause pets to scratch excessively

  1. Biting or nibbling at the fur. As above, triggered by irritation due to flea bites
  2. Overgrooming (cats). In cats, the only sign may be that your pet is grooming excessively, which could also hairballs
  3. Hair loss, reddening of the skin. In more severe cases, particularly in those pets which develop an allergy, the excessive scratching can cause hair loss and damageimagesthe skin, triggering inflammation and infection.
  4. Fleas transmit tapeworm, so if you notice signs of tapeworm this could be due to a flea infestation. Signs of tapeworm include the appearance of dried, white to cream coloured segments, or pieces of tapeworm in your pet’s poo or stuck to the fur under the tail (these can look like grains of rice). Pets may also bite or lick the anus, or drag their hind quarters across the floor in response to the itching.

 flea

If you think your pet might have fleas, try parting the coat near the base of the tail using your hands or a flea comb and look for movement. Most fleas grow to about the size of a pinhead and will move or jump when disturbed.

It’s not always easy to spot the fleas, and some animals may groom them off. If you don’t see any fleas, have a look for flea dirt; dark, pepper-like particles on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat (see Fig.1). You can easily confirm this by dabbing some of this material with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. If you see dark reddish brown or orange swirls, this is flea dirt and confirms that your pet has fleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.1. Particles of flea dirt on a damp paper towel

 

If you see evidence of fleas, or are concerned that your pet may be suffering, please contact your vet.

 

For more information about fleas, check our other article here (link to other post) or visit www.bravopets.ie

Fleas are tiny, just a few millimetres long, and very fast moving, so it can be difficult to tell if your pet has fleas. Here are some signs to look out for.

 

  1. The irritation caused by flea bites can cause pets to scratch excessively
  2. Biting or nibbling at the fur. As above, triggered by irritation due to flea bites
  3. Overgrooming (cats). In cats, the only sign may be that your pet is grooming excessively, which could also hairballs
  4. Hair loss, reddening of the skin. In more severe cases, particularly in those pets which develop an allergy, the excessive scratching can cause hair loss and damage the skin, triggering inflammation and infection.
  5. Fleas transmit tapeworm, so if you notice signs of tapeworm this could be due to a flea infestation. Signs of tapeworm include the appearance of dried, white to cream coloured segments, or pieces of tapeworm in your pet’s poo or stuck to the fur under the tail (these can look like grains of rice). Pets may also bite or lick the anus, or drag their hind quarters across the floor in response to the itching.

 

If you think your pet might have fleas, try parting the coat near the base of the tail using your hands or a flea comb and look for movement. Most fleas grow to about the size of a pinhead and will move or jump when disturbed.

 

It’s not always easy to spot the fleas, and some animals may groom them off. If you don’t see any fleas, have a look for flea dirt; dark, pepper-like particles on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat (see Fig.1). You can easily confirm this by dabbing some of this material with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. If you see dark reddish brown or orange swirls, this is flea dirt and confirms that your pet has fleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.1. Particles of flea dirt on a damp paper towel

 

If you see evidence of fleas, or are concerned that your pet may be suffering, please contact your vet.

 

For more information about fleas, check our other article here (link to other post) or visit www.bravopets.ie

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