One of the biggest frustrations a pet owner experiences is discovering their pet and home are in the grips of a flea infestation. With a female flea able to produce eggs at a rate of 40/50 a day and up to 2,000 eggs in their lifetime, fleas can become a big problem fast.
Florida is known as one of the top five states for fleas due to our year-round humid climate, making them a common and sometimes-recurring problem for pet owners. Preventing, identifying, and treating your pet for fleas properly will help scratch out a problem before it digs in like a tick.
Our team here at Dr. Phillips Animal Hospital have years of experience dealing with fleas and ticks for many different animals, using the safest and most effective treatments available. Wondering how to check if your pet has fleas or what is the best way to treat? Concerned about other risks fleas or ticks may pose to your pet or family? Our team and vet are here to help and either provide or recommend the best treatment for your pet and their situation.
How to Identify if Your Pet Has Fleas or Ticks
Fleas can be identified in a number of ways. Many times your vet may advise flea treatment or diagnose a flea infestation when they are not directly visible, as in early stages they are in smaller numbers and hard to see. If fleas are easily found on your pet, then your pet requires immediate care as the infestation is most likely quite advanced.
Here are some flea signs to look for with your pet:
- Unusual or Excessive Scratching, Biting, &/or Licking
- Flea Dirt (small reddish-brown or black specks on your pet’s body or around your home)
- Tiny, Red Bumps on their Skin (examine them closely as sometimes they can be hard to see)
- Visibility of Adult Fleas
- Unusual Red Patches on Skin
- Loss of Hair
- Pale Gums
Fleas tend to prefer the following areas on your pet so make sure to check:
- Behind their Ears
- Base of their Tail
If confronted with a tick problem, here are some sign of ticks from your pet:
- Discover a Small Bump on your Pet
- Unexplained Scabs
- Spot a Tick Somewhere in your Home
- Pet Develops a Fever (signs of weakness, shivering, loss of appetite, or unusual panting)
- Excessive Head Shaking
Are Fleas & Ticks Dangerous?
A flea problem on your pet is a problem for your home and family and treating your pet and home for fleas or ticks is a serious matter. Aside from itching, fleas and ticks pose a danger to your pet and families as they can transmit both disease and parasites, some of which can affect humans. These include ‘cat scratch disease’, Murine Typhus, and tapeworms to name a few. Fleas increase risks of anemia and other health conditions for pets. If untreated, these can lead to death.
Ticks can cause Lyme disease, which although there is a vaccine for dogs, currently there is not one yet for humans. It is not unheard of for ticks to carry up to three different types of disease at one time. When it comes to your pet’s and family’s health or safety, no one takes it more seriously than we do.
How Do We Treat or Prevent Fleas & Ticks?
Commercial over the counter sprays, powders, collars, and shampoo treatments for fleas have been widely used for a number of years. Shampoos can be great to help treat irritated skin on your pet from flea bites. But some of these can be toxic or ineffective, so reach out to our experts for recommendations.
When treating your pet for fleas or ticks, we use topical and oral treatments and recommend:
- Medication and Oral tablets (when applicable)
- Spot-on Flea Treatments
- Tick Collars
What Flea & Tick Services We Offer
With over 2,000 different species of fleas and thousands of ticks species, many of today’s over the counter insecticides or treatments have been tested on and effectively treat only certain species. This makes treating some flea or tick problems difficult and in some cases, seem unmanageable. At Dr. Phillips Animal Hospital we use a variety of flea and tick treatments and insecticides, meaning regardless of the infestation or your pet, we can help.
When treating your pet, please follow our instructions by administering or following up on flea treatments to ensure its effectiveness. If using over the counter product, please always ensure to read the directions, safety warnings, and use or apply the product as is directed to ensure your pet’s safety.
Where Can Your Pet Get Fleas or Ticks From?
Your pet can get fleas and ticks from a number of ways, including from within your home. Ticks are more prevalent in summer, but in Florida, both can be contracted year round. Fleas and ticks can be transferred from wild animals (raccoons, squirrels, or feral cats), pets of friends or family members, human guests, the outdoors (especially wooded areas), and even from your front or backyard.
Fleas & Your Home
If a flea infestation is discovered on your pet, your environment (home, apartment, condo) needs to be treated as well as your pet. How well you treat your home against fleas will directly impact the effectiveness of your pet’s treatment, and there is a variety of over-the-counter flea treatments and insecticides available.
You can treat your home for fleas by:
- Vacuuming your home several times a week (make sure to empty the bag as eggs can hatch and crawl out)
- Vacuuming and cleaning your car
- Laudering and cleaning your pet’s bed regularly or the areas they frequent
- Getting an exterminator or bombing your house with an insecticide
Remember that for every one flea you find on your pet, there could 50 hiding around your home, yard, or car.
Why Would My Pet Have Fleas Even After Treatment?
If your pet has been treated for fleas and they return, this can be due to a number of factors beyond the effectiveness of the treatment. Fleas returning can be due to still being present in your home, car, new infestations from another animal, or improper application of the preventative. If your cat is not a house cat, they may have also contracted fleas from a neighbor’s home, yard, or pet.
What is the Cost?
The cost for flea or tick services – diagnosis, prevention, and treatment – varies, and all pricing will be provided during their appointment or additional information can be provided upon request.
Why Choose Our Hospital
As pet owners ourselves, we know personally how dealing with fleas and ticks on your pet and home can be stressful and challenging. Getting the best treatment for your pet while at the same time ensuring it does not put their health or your family at risk is where we can help.
All our staff will do everything we can to make the procedure and recovery fast, while also providing various preventative treatments to hopefully ensure an infestation does not happen again.
If you’re concerned about your pet and feel it may be an emergency, please contact us so that we can help.
Read Our Customer Stories
“I’ve been to many vets in my lifetime and always my biggest complaint has been getting the vet to “talk” to me. The doctor was so thorough and forthcoming with information. I would gladly recommend this clinic to anyone trying to keep a family member (old, young, big, small, canine, feline, doesn’t matter) happy and healthy.” Michelle A. (Review Via Yelp)