FLEAS or Ctenocephalides felis
Fleas or Ctenocephalides felis are generally the leading cause of scratching and itching in both cats and dogs. These tiny critters survive by jumping onto a host animal, ripping open their skin and then feeding on their blood.
For most adult pets these tiny bites cause a mild itch, however a heavy infestation on puppies or small breed dogs has been known to cause anemia and even death. Some dogs have also been seen to develop a noticeable hypersensitivity to the saliva of fleas and experience intense itching that causes them to scratch incisively resulting in skin abrasions, hair loss and secondary pyoderma. Most import to know however is that fleas are an intermediate host for tapeworms.
A flea infestation will be diagnosed when you find flea feces and eggs on the dog’s coat. Often this is called “salt and pepper” when it is being described. The fecal material which is made up of digested blood is the pepper and the larva is white and will look like salt sprinkled on the coat. The adult flea is dark brown and about 2.5 millimeters in size, and is visible to the necked eye. Fleas don’t have wings and can’t fly, but they do have powerful back legs and can jump great distances. They are very fast and difficult to catch. Use a fine tooth comb and run through your dog’s coat on his back, in the groin and around the tail and hindquarters and you will catch a glimpse of them if they are present.
Products such as: (Program, Sentinel, Advantage, Frontline, Frontline Plus and Revolution) all have various chemical approaches to freeing our furry friends from the menacing flea. Ask your veterinarian which they recommend and keep your pets from being a host to these vicious critters..