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How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?

How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?

Out of all the external parasites fleas are the most common. If fleas go too long without treatment they can cause infections and other severe diseases. Today our vets in Groton share with you the early signs of fleas, and the actions you should take if your pet has them. 

What are fleas?

Fleas are external parasites that require an animal host to survive. You need to take the proper steps to break their lifecycle, or else the adult fleas will keep reproducing and thriving on your pet and throughout your home.

What are the early signs of a flea infestation?

Your furry companion might have an allergy to a protein in the flea's saliva, this is why they will scratch almost immediately after being bitten by a flea. Even a fleabite can make your pet agitated and excessively scratch. 

 Other than scratching your pet might also have red bumps or pimples appearing on their belly, at the base of their tail, on their behind, groin, or under their legs. If your pet continues to constantly scratch at these areas, they could develop dry skin and lose some of their fur. Fleas and scratching may also lead to lesions, infections, or more severe diseases if they go untreated. 

How do I check my cat or dog for fleas?

Adult fleas are small and brown. They are relatively easy to spot with the naked eye. 

It's a good idea to check your pet's brush or comb while you're grooming them. Having your pet lie on their side will let you have a closer look at areas with thin hair, such as the abdomen. 

You may see "flea dirt". This looks similar to tiny grains of sand, or black pepper when wet. To check for flea dirt (feces), use a fine-tooth flea comb available at your vet's office to comb along your pet's back and underbelly. By standing your pet on a white towel or cloth while brushing them, you will be able to easily see any black droppings that fall from their fur. 

 I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching, what do I do?

If there are no signs of fleas, but your pet is still scratching, schedule an appointment with your vet, who can administer a skin test to check for flea allergies, in addition to other types of allergies during your visit. Your pet may be reacting to another type of allergy that's making them uncomfortable.  

I found fleas on my pet, how can I get rid of them?

There are many effective treatments available that you can use to eliminate fleas such as sprays, topical liquids, powders, and shampoos. If your cat or dog's case of fleas is more severe you should call your vet to get prescription creams or antibiotics. 

Preventing fleas and treating them early are the first choice methods to keep your pet safe from developing serious flea-related conditions in the future. 

If your pet is suffering from a severe case of fleas contact our vets at Companion Animal Hospital to have your cat or dog treated as soon as possible.

New Patients Welcome

Companion Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Groton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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