The Facts on Fleas

When is Flea Season?

Flea season usually starts in May and goes through to winter. The worst time of the year for fleas is September, October, and November. Flea prevention can be stopped once our temperature is consistently below the freezing point.

Fleas are small flightless insects. They are external parasites of warm-blooded animals, living by hematophagy (sucking the blood) off the blood of mammals and birds. The adults are up to about 3 mm (0.12 in) long and usually brown. They are flattened sideways to enable them to move through their host’s fur or feathers, and have strong claws to prevent themselves from being dislodged. They are wingless insects, with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood and hind legs adapted for jumping. They can leap a distance of some 50 times their body length, a feat second only to jumps made by froghoppers. The larvae are worm-like with no limbs; they have chewing mouthparts and feed on organic debris.

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Risks for Pets

  • Skin irritation – Intense itching and scratching can result in hair loss.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis – An unpleasant skin condition caused by an allergy to the flea’s saliva.
  • Anaemia – Puppies and kittens are at the highest risk from anaemia due to persistent blood loss.
  • Tapeworm infestation – Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs inside their body. If a flea is accidentally ingested by your pet when they are grooming, they can become infested with tapeworm.

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Risks for Humans

  • Flea bites – Most commonly seen around the ankle and calf area, can cause itching and soreness.
  • Disease transmission – cat scratch disease can be transmitted through fleas, causing flu-like symptoms in humans.

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How do You Catch Fleas?

  • Carpets and Furnishings – Fleas are very clever and can remain dormant in soft furnishings for many months. Only when they sense the warmth, carbon dioxide and vibrations caused by your pet do they hatch out and infest your animal.
  • Other Animals – It is rare for fleas to jump from one animal to another. Usually fleas shed into the environment such as a local park, your garden or a friend’s house. Wild animals including foxes, hedgehogs and rabbits are common sources of fleas.
  • Central Heating – Warmth created by our central heating systems can stimulate a dormant flea in the environment to hatch and infest your pet.

porkchop_and_applesauce_flea_season

When is Flea Season?

Flea season usually starts in May and goes through to winter. The worst time of the year for fleas is September, October, and November. Flea prevention can be stopped once our temperature is consistently below the freezing point.

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