I recently saw a little dog that had been itchy for about 10 days. The owner had seen a flea on him and assumed he had been infested while at the groomer. When I examined Pierre, I saw the tell tale signs of fleas – dermatitis at the base of the tail, along the back of the thighs and under the tummy. Plus I saw a little bit of flea dirt (actually flea feces.) I had to tell this owner that she had a colony of fleas somewhere in her home, and the problem did not start at the groomer. Fleas do not live on pets. They live in the environment where our pets sleep. We will find flea colonies under bushes and decks, in our couches and pet bedding, and in corners of the house where our pets d a lot of time and we can ™t clean real well. Adult fleas generally pick a single animal to use as a œhost. They wait for that host to come to the colony, jump on and have a meal, then jump off and lay eggs. These eggs than hatch and develop through several stages into immature fleas. The brand new baby flea is the only flea that will jump onto a new host. If a baby flea jumps onto your pet at a kennel, the park, or the groomer or vet, it may bite once, but it won ™t be able to set up a colony in your home all alone. Most flea infestations in our homes come from wandering cats or wildlife that spend time in our yards.
If you have an itchy pet or any flea questions, please give us a call.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP