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Flea infestations, depending on the severity can take up to 8-12 weeks to clear!
Treatment requires the regular, correct delivery of a registered flea product applied at a frequency recommended by the manufacturer. The key to understanding why things don’t always go to plan requires a basic understanding of the flea lifecycle.
The adult flea, an insect you can see with the naked eye, makes up only 5% of the total flea population. The remaining 95% of the population is made up of eggs, larvae and pupae which can be found, but not seen in your pet’s environment e.g. bedding, carpet and in the soil. Adult fleas live, breed and feed on your pet; a single female flea can produce up to 50 eggs a day and live for up to 100 days so populations can escalate quickly! It takes on average 21 days for an adult flea to develop from a flea egg. Fleas prefer warm, moist weather which is why they tend to be more noticeable in the warmer months. The juvenile life stages can remain dormant in an environment for at least six months, sometimes longer, so all-year flea treatment is recommended.
If a regular preventative flea treatment has not been appropriately applied, the fleas you are seeing may well be the dormant juvenile environmental stages hatching out because of the warmer weather. Flea products work by targeting one or more stages of the flea lifecycle leading to the reduction and eventual elimination of the household flea population. Continued application of your current flea product will in time eliminate the adult fleas and the environmental 95%.
It is vital to treat all the animals in the household… including the cat! This removes any “reservoir hosts”. Splitting doses are also not recommended as this can reduce the efficacy of your flea treatment.
CAN HUMANS GET FLEAS FROM PETS?
No. They prefer the thinner skin of dogs and cats over people but they may bite around the ankles in the case of a heavy infestation.
Fleas can jump 20cm into the air, that’s 150 times their own height!
Dr. Susanna Gamage BVSc MRCVS CVA (IVAS) has over a decade of international veterinary experience and is the founding director of Dr. Suze – My Visiting Vet. If you have a general pet question you would like answered by Dr. Suze please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note the information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice. If you have specific concerns about your pet, you should always seek advice directly from your veterinary healthcare practitioner.