Leading veterinarians are urging Australian pet owners to use preventatives against fleas for their pets to avoid a household outbreak, particularly when we are restricted to our homes more so than ever. Experts warn that flea reproduction is just as prevalent in the cooler months, with pets spending more time inside in heated close quarters.
Fleas are small parasitic insects that feed on blood of a host. There are more than 2,000 species of fleas in Australia, however the most common species affecting pets is Ctenocephalides felis the "cat flea". Despite its name, the cat flea affects both dogs, cats and some wildlife but can also be extremely unpleasant for humans. Fleas jump onto a host, which can be a human or a pet, and can be brought into homes – making indoor pets as much as a target as outdoor ones.
With the majority of Australians working home, Dr Angela Nehring is encouraging pet owners to keep a close eye on changes in their pet’s behaviour that would indicate fleas as well as regular checks for fleas using the following steps:
Step 1 - Part the coat near the base of the tail using your hands or a flea comb and look for movement. Most fleas grow to about the size of a pinhead and will move or jump when disturbed.
Step 2 - Even if you don’t see any fleas, have a look for dark, pepper-like particles on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat. These may be ‘flea dirt’, which are flea droppings.
Step 3 – Confirm this by dabbing some of this material with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. If you see dark reddish brown or orange swirls, this is flea dirt and confirms that the pet has fleas. If you suspect fleas are present, talk to your vet immediately about treatment.
Fleas are completely preventable with ongoing treatment such as Bravecto and all Aussie pet owners to speak to their trusted vets immediately about innovative, long-lasting treatment options. Keep your pets, children, and houses safe from pets.