We examined Allie and did our usual test for fleas – combing her with a flea comb and then placing what
we collected on a moist paper towel. The test turned out positive: the brown specks we had seen became reddish when moistened. While Pam was relieved that it wasn't something more serious, she was afraid that she had brought these pests to her house, her pets, and her
roommate's pets. We told her that she may have caught the infestation in the early stages, and that if she were
lucky, she would not have to fog the house and inconvenience everyone.
||or every single flea you spot hopping around, there are nearly 100 more that you don't see, either as an egg, larva, juvenile, or adult.
Pam had just gotten back from a trip she had taken across the country with her Border Collie, Allie. On the way home, she stopped at a dear friend’s house in Florida,
where she let Allie play with her friend’s dogs. All was well for a few days after she came home, until Allie started biting the area around her tail and scratching more than usual. Pam didn't think it was dry skin because she was feeding a quality food and had been giving Allie
Vitacaps® for the past two years, so Pam decided to have
Allie checked. That's where we came in.
We explained the flea life cycle to Pam. We told her there are four stages in the development of fleas: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults – and that the eggs are often laid on the pet, although they fall into the environment. We also explained that about two days after the egg is laid, it hatches into a larva before it passes
through several developmental stages, which takes about a week. At that time, the larva starts spinning a cocoon – called a pupa – that is sticky and can be found deep in carpet or
crevices. The pupa develops into an adult and emerges from the cocoon when it senses vibrations, carbon dioxide, or warmth, which tells it an animal host is
near. The entire life cycle takes about 15 days.
First, we told Pam to vacuum the whole house
and to make sure she disposed of the vacuum
bags outside immediately after she vacuumed. We suggested that she spray areas where Allie spent the most time with an environmentally safe
flea spray. We recommended a product that kills adult fleas and also stops the development of eggs and larvae – something that
contained both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR), for instance.
Repellents are the cornerstone of prevention.
Pyrethrins and permethrin have flea repellent activity. (NOTE: Permethrin should NOT be used on cats.) Using products containing these insecticides help keep fleas away and prevent a flea problem from developing. We
gave Pam a topical for Allie and her roommate's
pets and showed her how to continue to check for fleas on Allie.
Pam soon reported that she had found no more fleas on Allie and the other pets had not scratched at all.
Recommended Flea Control Products