Ash Veterinary Clinic


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There are thousands of different species of fleas throughout the world. These creatures attack both pets and humans and inhabit their hair and our homes. Despite numerous technological advances, fleas continue to represent a potentially lethal plague upon our pets. Current flea preventions are very effective so there is little reason for a flea infestation of pet, owner or home. The problem seems to be one of understanding. In this article, we hope you become more aware of the different types of fleas and what to look out for so you can keep your furry friends bug free.

Cat Fleas – These are the most common type of flea, at least here in America. Cat fleas infest cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and numerous other animals. They are the most common flea found on our pets and inside our homes. They love laying eggs (up to 50 a day) and infesting carpets, curtains, furniture and entire households as well.

Chicken Fleas – As their name implies, these fleas love infesting and living on chickens. They live and breed in the chickens coups, and attach themselves with their heads buried into the skins of the chickens. They can be seen around the faces and heads of chickens and they appear as blackheads, or small black nodules. When you enter a coup to gather eggs or clean it you can become a temporary host for these biting pests.

Northern Rat Fleas – These nasty little critters are always feeding off the blood of rats and mice. If you have a pet mouse and have spotted it scratching itself, these are very likely the culprits. They favor the blood of rats and mice, but like most other fleas, if brought around humans, they will also feed on the blood of people.

Human Fleas – Most folks will tell you people do not become infested with or get fleas! This is not true at all. In fact there is a species of flea called the Human Flea. It looks very similar to any other flea, except under a microscope. This type of flea likes to infest the hair of humans. It easily finds a host by hiding on the backs of seats of buses and other vehicles, and hitching rides in the hair of new passengers. These fleas love to infest hairy areas of people such as the heads, under the arms and other areas. They live quite well on people, and gorge themselves off the blood. Human Fleas are not that common anymore, thanks to better hygiene and cleaning methods, but they are still out there.

Sand Fleas – These are the little villains that often bite your ankles when at the beaches. When you lie down on the sand, they will bite any body part that is close to the ground. They are one flea that looks different than most others. In fact, their appearance is more like that of a very tiny shrimp-like creature. Sand fleas feed on organic and dying plants, especially seaweed that washes up on a beach. If you are near the beach, these fleas may be found any place there is sand.

Fleas are adaptive and their life cycle is always active: eggs are laid, larvae are developing and pupae are growing, etc. The environmental temperature controls how fast this occurs. Despite the TV commercials, the educational pamphlets and the common nature of the parasite, there are still some significant awareness problems and a multitude of misconceptions. The moral of the story is that fleas should not be underestimated and preventing fleas is easier than treating fleas. Nearly all flea preventatives are aimed at the most common one that affects dogs, cats and your home, which is the cat flea. Products carried only by your veterinarian are guaranteed to work on your pets and in your home. Any product bought at any store or online is not regulated or recommended by your veterinarian. If you have any questions about fleas or flea control products, please call Ash Veterinary Clinic at 734-782-2827 and we would be happy to help you prevent or treat fleas with reputable products that are only available from your veterinarian.

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: