What do you need to know about fleas?
If you have a dog or cat, you’ll want to be educated on fleas. These annoying parasites can carry and transmit several illnesses:
- Tapeworms— Larval fleas may feed on the egg packets of a particular type of tapeworm. As the flea matures, the tapeworm egg develops and if that flea is swallowed by a dog or cat, the tapeworm develops in the new host.
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis— Even a single bite from a single flea can initiate a seriously itchy reaction to the saliva in some allergic dogs and cats
- Cat Scratch Disease— This disease is caused by an organism called Bartonella. While Cat Scratch Disease usually does not affect most cats in a negative way, it puts cat guardians at risk.
- Hemotropic Mycoplasmosis— This one isn’t even fun to say. The bacteria is transmitted mainly by ticks and fleas that have fed off of other infected animals. The disease affects red blood cells in cats and (less commonly) dogs, resulting in anemia. It’s more likely to affect dogs who have had their spleens removed.
- Plague— Okay, this one is somewhat rare today, but can be found in prairie dog colonies in the western US. When it comes to the plague, best not to take any chances. According to the CDC, “Cats are highly susceptible to plague.” While dogs are generally resistant to plague, infection may occur.
Flea control has gotten a lot simpler and more effective. Regular, year-round use of flea control is the best way to control fleas and prevent discomfort from flea bites as well as preventing diseases carried by fleas.