It’s that time of year: hot and and buggy. One of the smallest bugs, with the biggest bites, are fleas.
Don’t be fooled into thinking they are harmless, because sometimes the itching goes deeper than the surface. The most common cause of skin disease in dogs and cats comes from an allergic reaction triggered by the saliva that the fleas inject into our pets’ skin when they bite. They aren’t just annoying, they can actually be dangerous. Fleas feed on human and animal blood. In addition to being gross little vampires, they can actually cause anemia in dogs and cats! Fleas can consume 15 times their own weight in blood. Dogs or cats that lose too much blood may develop anemia (dangerous drop in red blood cells). Puppies and kittens are especially susceptible to anemia caused by fleas.
It’s important to look for signs of flea irritation in your pets because not only is it uncomfortable and unhealthy for them, an infestation on your pets and in your home can happen in just a few days, since fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. Every flea you see on your pet equates to 100 more in your house because the eggs will fall off of your pet on to your carpets, beds and furniture, and continue multiplying.
Signs of Fleas in Dogs:
- dark specks (flea droppings) in their fur, white specks in their fur (flea eggs),
- excessive licking or scratching, and
- hot spots or scabs on their skin.
Signs of Fleas in Cats:
- dark specks in their fur,
- excessive scratching, and
- hair loss.
Now that you are itching, let’s protect those pets! Visit the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Retail Store to pick up topical flea medication, or make an appointment at our Animal Hospital today!