Five common myths about fleas

Fleas are amazing little creatures, in some respects.  When they jump, they accelerate faster than the space shuttle and up to 150 times their body length.  Female fleas consume 15 times their body weight in blood every day and can lay 2,000 eggs in a typical 2-3 month life span.  Within a cocoon, the pre-emerged flea can live 100 days without  a meal. There are other claims about fleas that are myths. Usually veterinarians hear these from pet parents that are in “flea-nial.”

Myth #1: “I would know if my dog had fleas, because they prefer me, and I’m not getting bites.”  Not true.  As tasty as your blood might be, the fleas found on dogs (which are almost always the cat flea species, Ctenocephalides felis), prefer dogs and cats to people. If you are getting bites, there is usually quite an infestation already. The reproductive capacity of the flea is such that just a few fleas can result in a massive infestation of your home within weeks. Most will be immature stages that you will not see until it is too late. Pre-emerged adult fleas lay in wait, emerging when they sense exhaled carbon dioxide, heat, or a shadow passing by. If you happen by the wrong location before your pet, the flea may bite you first, but dogs and cats are the preferred hosts.

Myth #2 next week!

Published by

skinvet

Jon Plant, DVM, is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology, founder of SkinVet Clinic and developer of RESPIT, regionally-specific immunotheray for atopic dermatitis of dogs and cats. He is a member of the International Committee on Atopic Diseases of Animals, the past President of the Portland Veterinary Medical Association and the Dermatology Section Editor of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

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