14 Jun No Comments admin Flea Prevention, From the Doctors, Pet Health

From the desk of Dr. Turgai:

I get this question all the time…”I just gave a flea treatment. Why am I STILL SEEING FLEAS ? ” Here is my best answer:

If you are using one of the very effective flea products, AND it is working the way it should, you may very well still be seeing fleas. The reason is that none of even the best flea products out there can kill a flea as soon as it touches the pet. The best products will still take at least 30 minutes to several hours to kill a flea. Even if the product on your pet is killing fleas this quickly, you may still be seeing fleas for a long time. If the flea population in the environment, i.e.: house and yard, is well established, it may take several months before you see the end of them.

Let’s say that we’re treating a cat who stays strictly indoors and there are no other pets. The fleas on this cat will continue to lay eggs until the flea product takes effect. The last eggs to fall off the cat into the carpet represent the last of the fleas. The problem is that it may take several months for these eggs to go through their life cycle of egg to larva (worm), to pupa (cocoon) to adult. The time it takes to go through these life stages depends primarily on temperature and humidity, but other factors come into play too. So in a very cool air conditioned home, you may be seeing fleas for quite a while. Treating the indoors can help.

Now consider the dog that goes outside and sniffs at every bush during its walks around the block. The fleas that it may pick up should be killed by the flea product long before the new flea has a chance to lay its first egg which takes about 48 hours. But while the new flea will not be starting a new population inside the home, you will be seeing (and your dog will be feeling) those fleas until the flea product takes effect. If the dog is returning to the same spots on a regular basis, you may continue to see fleas despite the flea product working perfectly. If you think that keeping your dog within the confines of the yard will solve this problem, don’t forget that new fleas might be seeded into your yard by a local stray cat, or when the neighbors dog comes over to play. New eggs that are dropped into your yard this way can take weeks to work through their life cycle. The higher temperatures and humidity outdoors will get the fleas through their life cycle quicker, but that does not matter if new flea eggs are continually entering the yard some how.

Sounds daunting? As long as the better flea products are used, most pet owners are happy with the results. But the initial phase of treating well established flea problems can be frustrating. Make an appointment today and see how we can help!