Fleas and Ticks

Fleas are an environmental problem but require dogs, cats or native animals to feed and breed. Only a small percentage of the flea population live on the pet. There are four main parts to the flea life cycle:

Flea – 2-4mm long and commence feeding within minutes of landing on your pet. Females can start laying eggs at 24 hours old and laying 50 eggs each day
Egg – white, 0.5mm long and fall off in the environment wherever your pet goes including outside in the grass, inside in the bed or furniture. Eggs hatch in 1 – 6 days.
Larvae – 1-2mm long and feed off the flea faeces (blood) and move to quiet, dark areas and burrow deep into the ground or carpet. It takes 5-11 day to develop into a pupae.
Pupae – 2-3mm long with a sticky cocoon and begin to hatch from 14 days or depending on the environment and conditions can last nearly a year without hatching. This is the stage of the cycle is impossible to kill.

Where do fleas hide? 

Fleas can hide very easily on your pet and difficult to find a flea sometimes. The main indicator is flea ‘dirt’ which is the flea’s poo and blood. On dogs, most of the evidence with at the base of the tail; for a cat it’s their head as they groom dirt off the rest of their body.

Do I really need to treat for fleas?

Yes, whether you have an infestation or not as it’s the only way to prevent an infestation occurring. Once fleas are living and breeding in your environment it can take a more than a year to reduce the infestation. Sometimes, particularly if your neighbours have flea infestations or there are stray cats coming into your yard, the infestation can only be minimised not eliminated completely.

Do I need to treat all my pets?

Yes, especially if the aim is to reduce the environmental infestation. If you are only treating inside pets then your outside environment will slowly get more infested over time.

Do I need to treat during winter?

Although there are not as many fleas in colder months, treatment is essential as the fleas that are not being treated lay hundreds of eggs, which will hatch in the perfect spring and summer.

What products should I use?

There are lots of products available, listed below are the products we recommend. When looking for the right product avoid supermarket tablets and flea collars.
Simparica/Nexgard – A monthly chew and treats for fleas and ticks for 4 weeks.
Revolution – A monthly spot on treats for fleas, heartworm and worms for 4 weeks.
Comfortis – A monthly prevention treating fleas only for 4 weeks

What about tick prevention?

Protecting against the paralysis tick is always a good idea as the tick can be fatal or your dog and cat. The paralysis tick is known to live in coastal and Newcastle areas and can easily come back in your belongings ifyou have visited those areas. Tick prevention combined with your flea product is the easiest and most economical form of prevention. Nexgard or Simparica is the product we recommend.

About the author: Megan Reilly

Megan is a Veterinary Nurse Technician - the highest qualification available to Veterinary Nurses in Australia, Megan has a fun loving spirit and brings a positive energy to Heights Pet Hospital. She is a talented nurse who has a love for all patients and is continuously updating our processes and procedures, always finding a better or more effective way. She has been at the hospital since its opening in 2011 and in the veterinary industry since 2000, starting out as a kennel hand and then completing veterinary nursing cert IV in 2006. She has also undertaken additional study, gaining her qualification as a Veterinary Nurse Technician in 2015.

Megan runs our puppy school classes and has a special interest in canine behaviour. She continues to give back to the industry with her dedication to training new veterinary nurses and work experience students.

Megan has Trevor, a black domestic short hair cat with a penchant for extravagant bow ties! and Howard, a fiesty Border-Terrier.

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