News and Media

INFO: Treating fleas this spring

September 8, 2015

The sun is shining, birds are singing and temperatures are beginning to rise. Spring is here and we are starting to shake off the winter blues. While many of us revel in the warmer weather, this time of year also marks an unwelcome increase in the number of fleas.

Fleas can be a problem even in the most spotless home or on the cleanest pet. Understanding what you need to do to control the flea life cycle and kill adult fleas is the best way to ensure your pet is protected year round.

What are the signs that my pet has fleas?

The first sign that your pet might have fleas is excessive scratching, biting or licking at the skin.

Irritated skin can also be a symptom of other problems including mites and allergic skin disease. If your pet is scratching at their skin, you will need to take a look at their coat to determine if they do have fleas.

The best places to look for fleas on your pet are around their stomach, lower back and around the base of the tail. When checking your pet’s coat, you are looking for two things.

1. Flea dirt – this looks like small black specks of grit, similar to finely ground pepper. This is actually digested dried blood.

2. Fleas – approximately the size of a pin head, fleas can be seen moving or jumping through your pet’s coat.

What should I do if my pet has fleas?

If you think your pet has fleas, consult your vet. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options for your pet.

It is important to tailor your treatment to your pet and their environment. Your vet can also determine the best plan for preventing fleas in the future.

How do I treat fleas?

It is important that both your pet and their environment are treated for fleas. This may include bedding, kennels, carpets and other  pets too. Whether your pet resides indoors or outside you will need to thoroughly treat their living areas.

Talk to your vet about the right flea treatment product for you and your pets. Common options include a topical liquid treatment applied to the back of the neck, or a chewable flavoured tablet you can give your pet orally. Shampoos, sprays and powders have been used frequently in the past, but they can vary in their efficacy. Remember it is important not use products on your dog that are intended for cats and vice versa.

The Frank Samways Veterinary Clinic can perform a total parasite check-up for your pet in preparation for the warmer weather. The check-up includes a general health check, flea check and treatment, heart-worm blood test and a review of your pet’s parasite control regime.

If you would like to make an appointment with the Clinic you can contact them on (03) 9329 2755. Concession and pension card holders are entitled to a 10 per cent discount on consultations at the Frank Samways Veterinary Clinic.