Fleas can make your pet miserable! If left untreated, fleas can lead to infection and possibly cause more serious diseases. Here's a little from our Memphis vets on how to spot the signs of flea infestations so that you can detect them early and keep your pet healthy.
What are fleas?
Fleas are parasites. Like all parasites, fleas depend upon a host animal for their survival. Your dog or cat could easily become a host for these unwanted pests. Fleas will continue to thrive and reproduce on your pet, and in your home, until you step in and break their lifecycle.
What signs of flea infestation should I look for?
Itching and scratching is a common sign that your pet may be hosting fleas. This occurs because cats and dogs can be allergic to the protein in flea saliva. Pets may begin to itch or scratch as soon as the flea bites their skin. Just a single flea bite could cause your pet to scratch excessively and become agitated.
Another common sign that your dog or cat might have fleas is the appearance of red pimples or bumps on your pet's groin, belly, under the legs, on their behind, or at the base of their tail. You may notice hair loss and dry skin in these areas if your pet is continually itching and scratching. Lesions and infection can develop and lead to more severe diseases if fleas are left untreated.
How can I check my pet for fleas?
Adult fleas are relatively easy to see with the naked eye. Generally, they're small and brown.
During regular grooming sessions, it's a good idea to check your pet's comb or brush for signs of fleas. Have your pet lie on their side and thoroughly check for fleas in thinly-haired areas like your pet's abdomen.
Flea combs are available from your vet's office and are an excellent way to spot flea feces on your pet. Fleas feces (or flea dirt) looks similar to black pepper or tiny grains of sand that turn red when wet. When looking for flea feces just run a fine-toothed flea comb along your pet's underbelly or back. It may be helpful to have your pet stand on a white towel or cloth while you brush them. This will help you to see any black droppings that fall from your pet.
What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If there are no signs of fleas but your cat or dog seems uncomfortable, bring them to your vet. A skin test to check for flea allergies is available at your vet's office. It's possible that your pet is experiencing another type of allergy if they are itching and scratching but no fleas are present. Your vet will also be able to diagnose other allergies during your visit.
If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?
There are a number of safe, effective treatment options to prevent or eliminate fleas, including powders, sprays, shampoos and topical liquids. If your pet has a more severe case, you may need to contact your vet who can prescribe creams and antibiotics to help eliminate the fleas and make your pet feel better.
Preventing fleas, or prompt treatment as soon as you notice fleas, are the best ways to ensure that your dog or cat doesn't develop more serious issues resulting from these parasites.
Flea prevention is part of our annual Wellness Plans. Choose the Wellness Plan that's right for your pet.
Looking for a vet in Cordova and greater Memphis area?
We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
Related Articles View All
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is seen in dogs across the US with symptoms ranging from mild to potentially life-threatening. Today we share some of the most common symptoms seen in dogs, as well as the treatments available for this tick-borne disease and how to help protect your dog against RMSF.
Dogs contract Ehrlichiosis after begin bitten by a tick infected with the Ehrlichia organism. It is essential to diagnose and treat Ehrlichiosis as early as possible in order to prevent the disease from becoming more severe. In today's post our Cordova vets share more about this serious condition including symptoms of Ehrlichiosis in dogs.
Babesiosis or Babesia infection is a predominantly tick-borne disease found in dogs and other mammals across the US. Today our Cordova vets share some of the symptoms of this serious disease, along with the available treatments for Babesiosis and how you can help to prevent your dog from falling victim to a Babesia infection.
If your dog has chronic kidney disease, feeding them the right diet is going to be an essential part of their treatment. For dogs with kidney disease, our Cordova vets may recommend a therapeutic diet with increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids and restricted amounts of protein, phosphorus and sodium. Here's why...