THE FLEA: HOW CAN SOMETHING SO ANNOYING EXIST?

I can’t handle this itch, what a bummer! We all have the memory of that image in which we see a poor dog sitting on the ground with its paw raised while scratching its back with obvious concern. We suspect that it has been infested by fleas and that it must be suffering a martyrdom for the itch they originate. But not only itching, with fleas can also come serious diseases and allergies.

The Ctenocephalides is the most common flea from over 1000 species, and is the most common originating external parasitic disease in dogs and cats; practically all dogs have suffered from fleas at some point in their life. But they can even affect humans, causing irritation and triggering allergic reactions!

FLEA

What is flea and how does it infect my dog?

Fleas are flattened parasitic insects between 1 and 6 mm in length, brown in color, with a biting and sucking mouth, that do not fly, but have very long legs that allow them to run and jump reaching 30 centimeters in distance. They feed on the blood of the host animal they infect.

When a female flea reaches our animal and manages to suck its blood, in just 24-48 hours it will begin laying eggs, reaching the average figure of 30 eggs per day. The life cycle of the flea begins in the egg, which evolves into a larva, which later becomes a pupa and finally reaches an adult flea.

The adult flea lays the eggs during the dog’s rest period, and these tend to fall on the bed or the animal’s resting place, allowing the larvae to remain hidden under cushions, carpets or cracks in the floor, once hatched, and wait to adhere to the first animal that approaches. Our pet can also be infected by contact with other dogs or cats, and with other wild or farm animals, in parks and forests.

How can I suspect that the parasite is present?

If our dog has fleas, he will most likely experience itching and localized skin reactions with red spots on the skin. We will see that he scratches and nibbles the skin frequently, and possibly scabs, redness and areas with hair loss and areas with hair loss appear. The preferred areas of fleas are the back of the ears, the back, and the base of the tail, the belly and the inner area of​the thighs. In some cases of dogs with hypersensitivity to fleas, a severe allergic dermatitis may appear, caused by the allergen that transmits the flea’s saliva through the bite. Symptoms of anemia may appear in puppies due to the loss of blood they suffer from the sucking of fleas.

When the infestation is large, fleas can be seen with the naked eye or with a flea comb.

What is the best prevention?

To prevent, the best way is to act on the environment and on the animal. The hygiene of the animal and the cleanliness of its bed and its recreation area will be essential. There are sprays to treat the environment, collars and shampoos to treat the animal directly, and also regular vacuuming, and washing beds and blankets at more than 60º for more than 10 min will be useful to eliminate eggs and fleas from your bed and the ground.

However, it is convenient to act on the animal by going to our trusted veterinarian to ask him to make us an adequate preventive plan that includes the Double Monthly Protection against internal and external parasites: protecting our pet from worms, fleas and ticks.

With this antiphrastic treatment, we will protect our pet every day of the year since, with its monthly dose, we will not only eliminate the adult fleas that have been able to affect our dog, but we will also break their life cycle to prevent them from re-infecting them.