Fleas can cause a wide variety of issues for your pets, the most common of which is flea bite dermatitis, which is a specific allergy to flea saliva.
Some examples of how bad your pet could suffer without protection:
This leads to intense itching and scratching for your pet. That constant itching allows the skin to break open and form scabs that can get infected. It can happen on any area of the skin, but the most frequent site is the back and base of the tail.
In addition to skin irritation and other external issues, pets are also at risk for internal complications from flea bites and infestations.
INTERNAL INFECTIONS FROM FLEAS
A second problem caused by fleas is tapeworms. These are parasites that are passed to your pet when they actually ingest the flea.
The tapeworm is initially inside the flea, and then grows inside your pet. They are segmented parasites that can be as small as 1/2 inch and look like maggots, but can also be as long as 12 inches. They can cause an itchy rear end as well as weight loss.
Another medical issue involving flea infestation on your pets is flea bite anemia. This is when young or small animals (such as puppies and kittens) have a severe flea infestation and the fleas feed so much on these animals that their red blood cell count decreases. Thus, they become anemic. This can be a medical emergency and even fatal in some cases if left untreated.
SEASONS INFLUENCE FLEAS
The amount of time you must devote to fighting fleas has much to do with the climate where you live. In areas that experience freezing temperatures, fleas will either be killed by the cold or will lie dormant until warm weather returns. But the harsh winters of colder countries only provide a temporary respite from these pests, and those in warmer climates might find themselves battling fleas all year long.
During the warmer months, from April to October, fleas are always found outside on wild animals and are hence found on the brush and bushes in the area. When your pet comes in contact with the flea, the flea looks to your pet as a safe place for a meal. Additionally, fleas can be on your clothing and come into your house that way.
But pet owners always need to be on the lookout for fleas, even when the weather turns cool.
Though most people think that fleas are only an issue in the spring and summer, don’t ignore the fall. In many cases, we tend to see more fleas from September to October as the cool weather leads the fleas indoors to your warm pets and houses. Fleas will die outside in the cold, but once inside, they can spend the winter. We recommend letting your pet wear the collar at least through two frosts.
FLEAS ARE A HEALTH RISK TO HUMANS TOO
Dog and cat fleas don’t usually look to humans as hosts, but fleas in the home can still be a significant health risk to pet owners.
Fleas can bite humans but don’t actually live on human skin or hair. Certain diseases can be carried by fleas and spread to humans, including plague and cat scratch fever. If you have signs related to any of these diseases, consult your physician.
By protecting your pet you are also protecting yourself.
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