- Charter Veterinary Hospital, Roundswell, Barnstaple
- Bridge House Surgery, Pilton, Barnstaple
- St. John's Surgery, Newport, Barnstaple
- Mullacott Veterinary Hospital, Ilfracombe
- South Street Surgery, Braunton
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas are the most common cause of skin disease in our pets. The most common type of flea to be found on all cats and dogs is the cat flea.
As well as causing skin conditions fleas can also transfer tapeworms to our pets by swallowing an infected flea.
Signs of fleas
- Persistent itching or scratching.
- Obvious flea dirt in the coat, recognisable as black flecks, which is the digested blood of your pet.
- Self-mutilation, hair loss and general reddening of the skin.
- Occasionally some pets have a flea allergic dermatitis where one flea can be enough to cause irritation over the skin.
Many pets can show none of the above signs yet still have a severe infestation.
Life cycle of the flea
Once the flea has laid its eggs in your pet’s coat, these will be scattered around your house, settling on bedding, upholstery and carpets which we all share.
Depending on the environment, eggs will normally hatch within 2 days but in certain conditions they can remain dormant for up to a year before hatching.
Larvae will burrow into our carpets, furniture and bedding for 7 to 10 days during which time they feed on household dust whilst forming a cocoon.
At 7 to 10 days the adult flea has developed and will emerge from the cocoon. However if the weather is cold this process may take up to a year.
The adult flea starts producing eggs immediately and the cycle repeats itself.
If fleas have been seen on your pet then there will be eggs distributed around your house. We recommend INDOREX household spray. This can size is enough to treat an average 3 to 4 bedroom house and lasts for up to a year. This also kills adult fleas for up to 2 months.
We would advise thorough washing of bedding and vigorous vacuuming before use. The spray can be used on all soft furnishings, but any aquatic pets and birds must be removed for a short period, following the detailed instructions on the can. In the case of extreme infestations, local councils should be contacted.
Ticks are a very common external parasite that bite and attach to the hosts skin using mouthparts. They can cause significant disease by transmitting infections on these mouthparts acting as a vector (lymes disease is transmitted in this way). They can also cause local irritation and skin infections focally where they bite. For more information about Lymes Disease click here.
Ticks are largely a seasonal problem and they typically are a parasite seen between spring and autumn although mild winters can allow them to feed later in the year. The ticks that can bite our pets are usually found where wildlife or livestock graze (deer, sheep, rabbits).
Areas where vegetation is overgrown and unmanaged are particularly high risk for ticks.
Click here to view the video by Tom - How Ticks and Lyme disease can effect your pets.
Treatment and prevention
Veterinary licenced products are the most effective, but must be used at the correct time intervals and correct dose for your pets body weight.
Puppies and kittens
We recommend using a monthly spot-on product (imidacloprid and moxidectin*), which can be applied from 7 weeks of age in puppies and 9 weeks of age in cats. You will receive a free dose at your pet's first vaccination.
This will treat your pet for one month against:
- Lungworms (dogs)
- Ear mites
- Fox mange mites (dogs)
After 6 months of age when the peak roundworm risk has been treated, we still recommend you stay on a monthly spot-on treatment (imidacloprid and moxidectin*) as this will maintain protection for the widest range of parasites, especially lungworm.
For pet's requiring Tick protection we recommend the use of a flea and tick collar (imidacloprid and flumethrin**) in addition to spot-on (imidacloprid and moxidectin*)
Collars (imidacloprid and flumethrin**) are suitable for cats and dogs.
- (imidacloprid and flumethrin**) treats fleas, ticks larvae and lice, and last’s up to 8 months. The collars action enables it to release controlled doses of two active ingredients over long periods of time through the innovative collar technology.
- The collar repels ticks and thus stops the tick biting unlike other products.
- This stops the ticks being able to transmit tick borne disease such as lymes disease.
Other good options for flea control without inclusive
mite and worm control include:
- Monthly spot on Advantage (imidacloprid***) - fleas only
- Monthly spot-on (imidacloprid and permethrin****) - Fleas and ticks (do not use on cats or if you have a cat at home)
Pregnant bitches and queens
There is specialist advice for treating your pregnant bitch or queen, please ask one of our healthcare team members for further advice.
This information has been provided by Bayer the makers of: Advocate*, Seresto Collar**, Advantage***, and Advantix****
If you have any further questions protecting your pets against fleas and ticks, please telephone us and speak to one of our veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses, who will be happy to advise you.
For further healthcare advice click here.