Want to dress your pet up as something really scary for Halloween? Find a flea costume. Fleas are tiny little creatures that can cause some scary problems for your pet – and for you. Here are the scary facts:
Scary Fact 1: Fleas can cause disease in your pet:
• Flea Anemia. Did you know that a dog or cat that doesn’t scratch could still be suffering from blood loss due to fleas? If a pet isn’t scratching, it might be that they’re just not allergic to the flea bites, but they’re still getting bitten. Kittens, puppies, and older animals are particularly susceptible to what’s called ‘flea anemia’.
• Flea Allergic Dermatitis. You may see places on your dog or cat where they have gnawed and scratched their fur and skin. Many times, these mean that your pet has an allergy to fleas. The first step to a cure is getting rid of the fleas from the pet and from your home or yard. Topical medicines and oral steroids and/or antibiotics are usually prescribed to help with the itching. We may also recommend your animal wear a cone until their skin clears up.
Scary Fact 2: Fleas can make humans sick, too. Bartonella is a bacteria that cat’s catch from the saliva of fleas. Kitten or cats can carry the bacteria for months without any symptoms at all. When a cat licks, scratches, or bites a human, however, the bacteria is passed on to humans. Lab blood work will confirm Bartonella which requires antibiotic treatment. In the United States, most cases happen in the fall and winter and usually affect kids, probably because they’re more likely to play with cats and be bitten or scratched.
Scary Fact 3: Fleas don’t die off in the winter. It’s true that fleas can’t live for prolonged periods in freezing weather, but there are lots of places that stay plenty warm for a flea all year long.
It’s not all frightening, however. You and your pet have lots of options for preventing fleas. Simparica®, Trifexis®, Capstar®, Apoquel®, Vectra 3D® are at the top of the list, but talk to us. We’ll help you sort through the options and come up with a non-scary solution for you. And that’s a fact!