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Fleas: Myths and Facts
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
Small and annoying little creatures that can spread disease -- fleas are a constant threat to our pets. Even though most of us shudder when we hear someone mention fleas, in reality most people do not know that much about them. Here are some myths and facts about fleas that every pet owner should know.

Common Myths About Fleas
Indoor pets do not get fleas.
Wrong. Fleas can hitch a ride on you and end up in your home and on your pet.

2. Spraying for fleas in your house and in your yard will control them.
False. You have to treat your pets directly to gain good control. If you are treating the environment but not the pet, fleas can still feed on your pet and lay eggs. So it's important to treat your pet and the environment at the same time.

3. If you do not have carpet in your house, fleas cannot survive.
No. Fleas can live in furniture and cracks in your house. They do survive better in carpet, but fleas are resilient creatures and can live in most places.

4. If you are using a flea product on your pet, you should never see any fleas.
Sorry. You may still see fleas on your pet because they have to jump on in order to be exposed to whatever flea-fighting treatment you're using. Fortunately, with active flea protection at work, they should be dying.

5. Switching flea products month to month is effective because it exposes the fleas to new chemicals.
We really do not see that much resistance to our flea products. Many times a perceived resistance may happen because there are just too many fleas in the environment. The product is working, but is being overwhelmed by the abundance of fleas.

Some flea products use the glands of the animal's coat to move the chemical around and protect your pet. Other products depend on the hair itself. Some pets may respond better to one type of product over another, due to the nature of their coat or their physical features.

Flea Facts
The female flea is a busy creature. They will start feeding within just a few minutes of being on your pet.

2. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs per day.

3. Flea eggs, or larvae, can take 5 to 12 days to turn into pupae. Then adult fleas will emerge from the pupae anywhere between 14 and 180 days thereafter.

(Let's take a moment to do the math. Say your pet is carrying 100 female fleas — not really enough to be called an infestation, but enough for you to notice some scratching. In 1 day those fleas can produce up to 5000 eggs. And after 20 days of producing, that adds up to a possible 100,000 eggs. Then, in another 20 days that 100,000 eggs can become adult fleas, producing even more eggs of their own every day. That means a lot of fleas really fast!)

4. Temperature changes and humidity do effect the flea population. Optimal flea production occurs when the humidity is between 70% and 80% and when the temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees. Understandably, this is why fleas are always a nuisance in warmer climates.

5. Tapeworms, which are intestinal parasites, are transmitted by ingesting fleas. So yes, not only will your pet have creepy crawlies on the outside with a flea infestation, but they will get them on the inside, as well.

6. Bubonic plaque was spread through rodent fleas. Fleas would bite people after infected rodents died and spread the disease among human populations. An estimated 25 million people were killed in the 14th century due to bubonic plaque.

So there you have it! Everything you wanted to know about fleas!
How do you protect your pet and home from fleas? Have you ever had to go to greater lengths to squash a flea infestation? If so, what did you do? What worked and what didn't? Share with the Community.
lauraheinisch responded:
Ok we have been fighting fleas for almost a year on three indoor cats.
We had frontline from the vet but they claim that we didn't apply it exactly every 30 days, more like 28 35 and 32 days. I don't get it because we applied it on the same day of the month, like it says. None the less, we have tried vacuuming, spraying washing bedding, rugs, sheets, towels etc every other day, combing cats daily, (finding lots of fleas) flea collars, sprays, natural and poison, confining them to the downstairs only, throwing out the couch and beside ourselves with craziness. Just got back on the frontline from the vet and we comb daily. Wonder if once the fleas bite a human, since we are not treated as the cats are, can the fleas reproduce from our blood
rohvannyn replied to lauraheinisch's response:
Try diatomaceous earth too, that can help. Fleas don't normally feed from humans as readily.
girgi responded:
is there any plant which can kill fleas or make them leave the cat alone ????
rohvannyn replied to girgi's response:
There are some natural remedies out there that are plent based. Keep in mind that just because it's from a plant doesn't mean it's perfectly safe. I have seen results from diatomaceous earth, you basically sprinkle that on the floor and vacuum it up. It cuts the fleas and eggs microscopically. Flea combing is good too. You can also put the earth out in the yard. Some of the natural insect remedies contain pyrethrins, which is a substance found in chrysanthemums, I believe.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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