Fleas are small, brown or black, wingless, rapid-moving insects that feed on blood by biting affected animals. Not only do they cause discomfort by biting but also they can cause anemia, and some animals are allergic to them. The flea is also responsible for the spread of some diseases and tapeworms. The adult flea has a life span of up to one year, and has a complete life cycle – egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The eggs hatch into the larval stage. The larvae may remain in the environment for up to 200 days. It is very difficult to kill the larva stage, and the egg is also very resistant to insecticides. The only reason the adult flea infests an animal is to obtain a blood meal. The rest of the life cycle takes place in the environment.
Animal control of fleas without thorough control of the animal’s environment is not as effective as treating the pet and the pet’s home.
Click here to read some tips on flea control.
Ticks are external parasites that attach to dogs and cats and take a blood meal. They are not truly zoonotic (contagious) to people as people get ticks without pets being around. Ticks spread diseases such as Lyme, Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis and Babesia (all bacterial). Ticks are particularly prevalent in the spring and fall in tall grasses and trees. Ticks are being found year-round and therefore year-round preventative should be considered. When pulling a tick off of your pet, never use a match or fire and wear gloves if you have any open cuts or wounds. Be sure to grab as much of the tick’s head as possible. If you leave a bit of the head behind, be sure to disinfect the area and apply a topical antibiotic until it is gone. Ticks can be found anywhere on the body, but tend to like the head and ears the most. A topical once monthly product (such as Certifect or Vectra 3D) is the best defense against ticks. Additionally, there is a protector band (collar) called Scalibor that kills ticks & fleas for up to 6 months. Checking your pet every 24 hours and removing attached ticks can help to prevent Lyme disease also.