Fleas have been irritating our pets for many thousands of years and ruining pet health along the way. They are extremely heat and cold tolerant and can carry diseases that can harm both us and our pets. People spend billions of dollars each year trying to combat these tiny creatures. It was the flea after all that almost destroyed an entire continent of people in the Middle Ages!
The flea season in certain places can last year-round but usually they become much less of a nuisance after the first freeze of the year. Unfortunately that can be November or even December, so you have to monitor your pet's health with flea control pretty much year round. Of course, if you have carpet and are not protecting your pets, fleas can set up shop in your house and live very comfortably through the winter. Here is an interesting finding. Most people think fleas are the worst in the hot times of the year, but most veterinarians will agree that fleas are worse when it gets cold. Think about it, when it is hot some of the fleas are on animals and some are just on the ground. But, as it gets colder the fleas enter panic mode and actively seek out animals to hop onto to stay warm.
Fleas, since they consume blood, are a wonderful intermediate host of many parasites that can ruin your pet's health, especially in cats. In cats, fleas can carry a parasite called hemobartonella that live in and destroy red blood cells. In the Middle Ages and even now in the American southwest, fleas are also the source for the plague caused by a bacterium, yersinia pestis. More commonly, fleas transmit tapeworms that are the intestinal parasites that look like little pieces of rice around the rectum. Finally one of the biggest problems is that a fleabite is very irritating leading to an allergic reaction. In dogs, allergic reactions are the most common problem.
In young animals fleas can be fatal to pet health, due to blood loss. Many puppies and kittens have died from loosing too much blood from flea bites. So, with all the problems fleas can cause, control of this dreaded parasite is key. Many stores such as sell flea products and there are different topical applications and shampoos that are effective flea control. Medications found at your local veterinarian are the newer generation of flea preventatives. These products work much longer on the skin of the animals, typically around a month. Some of these products also break the life cycle of the flea not allowing them to reproduce. Oh, by the way, one female flea can produce fifty eggs a day! The number one cause of seeing too many fleas on our pets is a highly infected yard. All flea products take twelve to twenty-four hours to kill the fleas and often many fleas hop on every time they go outside. Treatment of the yard is just as important as treating your pet.
Gary Pearson is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
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