Fascinating flea facts

Fleas are the most common parasite for your pet. Find out the facts to fight fleas on dogs and cats.

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Fleas are reported to be the most common parasite affecting dogs and cats. Here are some facts that you may not have known:

 The world is host to over 2,000 species of flea, and they are a problem almost everywhere.

  • The cat flea is a very common type of flea, and despite its name, it also infests dogs, people and wild animals.
  • Fleas survive by drinking the blood of their host; a female flea can consume up to 15 times its own body weight in blood!
  • Fleas have a complex life cycle, with 4 different stages (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults). Only 5% of this life cycle is spent as adult fleas on a pet, the other 95% is spent as eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment, including your home!
Fleadirt

Fig. 1. Flea eggs are shed by infested pets wherever they go, including your bed!

 Once established, it takes at least 12 weeks of continuous treatment to resolve a flea infestation, and managing the issue can be very time consuming, frustrating and expensive.

  • A single tiny flea can quickly become a big problem. Female fleas lay up to 50 eggs per day and can live for up to 2 months on your pet; that’s 3,000 eggs from just 1 flea! In just 30 days, 25 adult female fleas can multiply to 250,000 fleas.
  • Flea pupae can remain dormant for months in the environment, meaning it takes a long time to get rid of them.

 

For more information about fleas, check our other articles here or visit www.bravopets.ie 

 

 

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Ticks; What is the risk to my pet?

Ticks can pose a serious risk to your pet including the transmission of Lyme Disease. Find out about the risks ticks can cause your pet.

Week 2 ticks

Ticks are a common and serious threat to pet and human health, causing a variety of health problems. The site of the bite can be become infected, causing irritation, pain and possibly leading to the development of abscesses. By far the biggest problem with ticks is the diseases they transmit.

Examples of diseases that ticks may transmit in Ireland and the UK include:

week 2 tickLyme disease

Lyme Disease is reported to be a growing problem around the world. In Europe, there was a 10-fold increase in human Lyme Disease cases between 1990 and 20101, and it is increasingly recognised as causing illness and hardship in people in Ireland2. It can also affect dogs, causing a variety of symptoms  including lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy, swollen joints, and (albeit rarely) kidney failure. Diagnosis can be difficult, as the signs are often vague and it can take months for them to develop following the tick bite. The bacteria are difficult to eliminate, so long courses of antibiotics are usually required to treat affected pets.

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis – symptoms include lethargy, swollen and painful joints, vomiting, diarrhoea, and neurological signs.

Babesiosis

Caused by a microscopic parasite that invades red blood cells of infected dogs. The disease can manifest with high temperature, increased respiratory rate, muscle tremors, anaemia, jaundice, weight loss and may be fatal. This disease is mainly found in continental Europe. There is a risk for travelling pets, but cases have recently been reported in the UK too.

For more information about ticks visit www.bravopets.ie

 

  1. europa.eu
  2. HPSC Factsheet on Lyme Disease

 

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Fleas – What is the risk to my pet?

 Worried about the risk of fleas to your pets? Learn about the risks and how to protect  your pet here.

Cat_scratching

Fleas are the most common external parasite to affect pets and can cause a wide variety of health issues. The most common signs of a flea infestation are related to the irritation caused by flea bites, including scratching and nibbling or biting at the fur. In cats, overgrooming is often seen.

Fleas can also cause more severe skin problems in animals which develop an allergy to fleas. This condition is known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), and pets with FAD can suffer from intense itching, hair loss and skin infections. Treatment with topical creams, steroids and antibiotics may be required in these cases.

Dog infection

Fig.1. Skin infection in a dog with FAD

Unfortunately, the list of problems doesn’t end there. Severe flea infestations can cause anaemia, especially in puppies and kittens, due to the amount of blood loss. Fleas can also transmit several diseases to dogs, cats and even humans including tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum).

Fleas will also bite people, causing skin irritation and itching, and sometimes triggering an allergic reaction.

Regular treatment is important to prevent a flea infestaion from developing. Speak to your vet about the most appropriate treatment  for your pet. There are a variety of options available, including spot-ons, sprays, collars as well as oral chewable formulations. Regular re-administration of product is required for effective long-term control of fleas, and there are products available which provide protection for as long as 12 weeks.

For more information about fleas, visit www.bravopets.ie

 

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