External Parasites – Fleas
Adult fleas on pets comprise approximately 5% of the flea population, leaving 95% as the immature stages that can live and develop in the environment of your home. Fleas are wingless insects with a flat, hard body and 3 pairs of legs. The 3rd pair of legs are longer, thus enabling it to jump great distances. Fleas survive on the blood meals obtained from biting our pets.
Signs that your pet may be infected with fleas include :
- itching and chewing
- fleas visible in the coat
- seeing the flea “dirt” on your pet’s skin
Pets become infected through exposure to fleas in the environment or other animals carrying adult fleas. The adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day! This means that an infestation can develop very quickly!
Treatment of flea infestations are important not only for the comfort of your pet, but also because fleas can bite humans.
Having fleas can also contribute to intestinal parasitism. When your pet grooms itself and accidentally ingests fleas, the flea can infect the pet with tapeworms. This parasite, when passed in the feces, has the appearance of grains of rice. These can also appear on the hair around the anus.