Fleas: More Than a Nuisance!

by Dr. Lauren Ritchey, Humane Society of Harrisburg Area Veterinarian 

 

Fleas aren’t just a nuisance!  Here are the important things you need to know about fleas:

  • Fleas can cause serious health problems for you and your pet
  • Fleas can kill: they suck blood and blood loss can lead to anemia. A heavy flea burden can be lethal, particularly in small or young animals.
  • Fleas can cause serious skin infections and hair loss. Some animals can become allergic to fleas.  Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease in dogs and cats.
  • Fleas can transmit infections and parasites including a bacteria called Bartonella that can cause health issues in cats, dogs, and people. Fleas can also carry a type of tapeworm.

Common myths regarding fleas and pets:

Myth: My pet cannot have fleas because he lives entirely indoors.
Fact: Fleas can thrive indoors- particularly in well-regulated indoor temperatures.

Myth: My pet cannot have fleas because I would see them.
Fact: You cannot expect to see fleas because many animals will lick, groom, and chew after being bitten by a flea. This causes the flea to either jump off the pet or get swallowed.

Please speak with your veterinarian about the many effective and safe new flea products available for your pets. Remember: Year round flea control is important!  If you don’t have a veterinarian, consider the Veterinary Resource Center of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area.  We also sell flea treatment products in our Furget Me Not retail store! 

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