The flea…we all know of them and we all fear them but most of us also have incorrect information about them. Six myths debunked.
1. All Flea products are safe for your pet.
Do not assume that all flea products are safe products and remember to carefully follow the product instructions. Research all products before use and read the EPA’s Pesticides Topical and Chemical Fact Sheet.
2. Winter time means no more fleas.
“Veterinarians now advise year round flea and tick protection because fleas actually do survive during the winter, especially indoors. Fleas thrive at the temperatures where we usually keep our homes, ranging from 70 degrees to 85 degrees, but can also survive in temperatures as low as 37 degrees.”
3. All Flea products are created equal.
Flea products vary greatly on what they do and the side effects that they may cause. Some products kill only adult fleas and leave eggs untouched, some products are waterproof and some products are safer than others.
4. Fleas can only live on pets.
While it is true that “without a host, adult fleas live only a few days to 2 weeks” it is also true that immature fleas live inside the home. “The adult flea can emerge from the cocoon as early as 3 to 5 days, or it can stay in the cocoon for a year or more, waiting for the right time to emerge. When is the right time?…Stimuli such as warm ambient temperatures, high humidity, even the vibrations and carbon dioxide emitted from a passing animal will cause the flea to emerge from the cocoon faster.”
5. Fleas are gone once they are no longer found on the pet.
The flea life cycle is somewhat complex and you must kill each stage in order to eliminate the problem. It can take months of extreme diligence to completely eradicate a flea infestation.
6. Fleas are harmless.
Fleas can cause the following conditions:
- PRURITUS- itching.
- FLEA ALLERGIC DERMATITIS (FAD)-Animals in contact to a large number of fleas can become hypersensitive to flea saliva. “The initial reaction is usually a reddened wheal, which forms a papule or swollen nodule and crusts over. After that, several secondary changes are possible: superficial pyoderma (skin infections affecting the skin surface), seborrhea (scaling, crusting, yellowish patches on the skin), diffuse erythema (reddening of the skin over various parts of the body), hair loss and “hot spots” – bare, eroded, oozing patches (a severe localized skin infection or pyoderma). The itching that occurs in dogs with FAD is intense, and results in self-mutilation.“
- TAPEWORM-Your pet can get Tapeworm by eating a flea containing Tapeworm eggs. “People can also become infected with Tapeworm if they accidentally ingest an infected flea.“
- ANEMIA-decrease of the number of red blood cells.
Has your pet ever had fleas and how long did it take to get rid of them?