Fleas are one of the most common external parasites in the world. And they are capable of making your pet absolutely miserable! If not promptly treated, they may even cause further infection and disease in your pet. Here, our South Lebanon vets explain the early signs of fleas and what to do when you identify fleas on your pet.
What are fleas?
Fleas are external parasites that rely on a host animal for their survival. Unless steps are taken by you or your vet to break the fleas' lifecycle, adults will reproduce and thrive on your pet, making them and you uncomfortable.
What signs of flea infestation should I look for?
Cats and dogs may be allergic to the protein in flea saliva, which is why they often start to scratch as soon as a flea bites their skin. Even one fleabite may cause pets to scratch excessively and become agitated.
Besides itching and scratching, pimples or red bumps may appear on your pet's belly, on their behind and on their groin, Your pet's itching and scratching of these areas will cause hair loss and dry skin. Lesions and infections may also develop and lead to more serious diseases if the fleas are left to their own devices.
How can I check my pet for fleas?
Adult fleas are small and brown. They are relatively easy to spot with the naked eye.
It's generally a good idea for you to check your pet's brush while you're grooming them when you suspect they might have fleas. Having your pup lay on their side while you take a look at areas with thinner hair—like their abdomen—may also be helpful.
You may see "flea dirt". This looks similar to tiny grains of sand, or black pepper when wet. To check for flea dirt (feces), use a fine-tooth flea comb available at your vet's office to comb along your pet's back and underbelly. By standing your pet on a white towel or cloth while brushing them, you will be able to easily see any black droppings that fall from their fur.
What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If there aren't any signs of fleas, but your pet is still scratching, schedule an appointment with your South Lebanon veterinarians as soon as possible. They will be able to test for flea allergies among allergies to other things during your visit. Your pet may actually be reacting to a different kind fo allergy that is making them uncomfortable.
If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?
A number of safe and effective treatments can be used to eliminate fleas, including shampoos, sprays, powders and topical liquids. You may need to visit your vet for prescription creams and antibiotics if your pet's case is more severe.
Early treatment and prevention are the first methods of choice to ensure your dog doesn't develop more serious issues in the future, as a result of fleas.