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How do I know if my pet has fleas?

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

You may not know your pet has fleas. Early signs may include your pet scratching or licking more than usual, or you may see sore skin, black flecks or actual fleas on your pet. You may also notice people in your house being bitten, especially round their ankles. Symptoms can vary and an examination by your vet may be required to confirm if your pet has fleas. Fleas on your pet are only 5% of the problem, the rest will be in the home environment – speak to your vet if you suspect your pet has fleas to discuss the best way to control the infestation.

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

You may not know your pet has fleas. Early signs may include your pet scratching or licking more than usual, or you may see sore skin, black flecks or actual fleas on your pet. You may also notice people in your house being bitten, especially round their ankles. Symptoms can vary and an examination by your vet may be required to confirm if your pet has fleas. Fleas on your pet are only 5% of the problem, the rest will be in the home environment – speak to your vet if you suspect your pet has fleas to discuss the best way to control the infestation.

Wider implications

Both fleas and ticks are parasites of our pets but they can also affect ourselves and our families as they can carry disease risks.

Wider implications


Both fleas and ticks are parasites of our pets but they can also affect ourselves and our families as they can carry disease risks.

Ticks

In the UK, ticks can carry Lyme disease, an infection that affects both dogs and humans: symptoms can include a ‘bull’s-eye rash’ in people, but this doesn’t always occur. Other symptoms include lethargy and flu-like symptoms. If you, a member of your family, or your pet has been bitten by a tick and is unwell, speak to a healthcare professional. For more information on this please refer to Public Health England.

In 2012, the requirement to treat dogs entering the UK on the PET travel scheme for ticks was removed. Ticks in other countries can carry diseases that are not found in the UK and there’s a risk that ticks brought into the UK from abroad can expose our pets to these diseases. In 2016 there was the first outbreak of canine babesiosis, a potentially fatal disease of dogs carried by ticks in Europe, in dogs in the UK that had not travelled abroad. So it’s still important, even though there’s no requirement on the PET travel scheme, to protect our pets from ticks.

Fleas

Fleas can cause severe irritation and infection of the skin (flea allergy dermatitis). They may also carry Bartonella. A recent survey (see The Big Flea Project results) showed that 11.3% of fleas were carrying this disease that can affect both dogs and humans if exposed to infected fleas or flea dirt.

As well as diseases, fleas can carry the flea tapeworm which can infest our pets.   

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Finding the right solution

Treatments available on prescription from your vet include spot-ons, chews, sprays and collars.

Finding the right solution


Treatments available on prescription from your vet include spot-ons and chews that give 28 days’ protection; chews that give 35 days’ protection; and spot-ons and chews that give 12 weeks’ protection. If you have a flea infestation, then to break the flea life cycle you’ll need a minimum of three doses, given on time, of the 28-day and 35-day products; or one dose of the 12-week product. Collars are also available that last from 6 months up to 8 months.

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How to prevent this Issue

Prevention is key to help protect your pet from parasites.

How to Prevent this Issue


Prevention Approach:

Prevention can be an excellent way to manage parasites from hurting your pet. Treatments available on prescription from your vet include spot-on and chews that give 28 days’ protection; chews that give 35 days’ protection; and spot-on and chews that give 12 weeks’ protection. If you have a flea infestation, then to break the flea life cycle you’ll need a minimum of three doses, given on time, of the 28-day and 35-day products; or one dose of the 12-week product. Collars are also available that last from 6 months up to 8 months. Speak to your vet, as they will be able to advise you on the different options available and recommend the best one for your pet based on their specific lifestyle.


Why Prevention helps:

Ticks and fleas can easily attach to your pet, and by the time most pet owners notice them, it’s usually when they have been feeding for a week or more. These parasites can also carry diseases that can be detrimental to your pet’s health. By using a vet recommended product, you can be assured that your pet will be protected, and that fleas and ticks will be killed before they can do any real harm.  


Other signs to look out for:

Different animals react differently when bitten by fleas or ticks. The following are some signs to be on the look-out for, but keep in mind that your pet might not necessarily display these, so the best way to make sure your pet doesn’t have any fleas or ticks is to regularly groom them, especially after long walks or if they have been around other pets.

-Mild skin irritation

- Intense itching and biting of skin

- Hair loss

- Skin Infections

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