Because of the all the rain over the last 6 months and now the very warm days, fleas are hatching in unprecedented numbers around Canberra.
Signs of flea infestation:
- Cats develop an allergy to flea bites. They groom or scratch excessively and develop “miliary” dermatitis.
- The fleas cause anaemia in kittens and debilitated animals.
- Cats are infested with tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) from eating infected fleas during grooming.
- Conquer fleas on your cat with long lasting flea control products (Frontline, Advocate, Revolution, Advantage) applied as a spot on. Flea collars, shampoos and powders kill fleas present on your cat at the time of application but have little residual effect.
- Remove flea eggs, larvae and pupae from the environment with regular vacuuming of carpets, sofas and beds. Throw away or burn the dust bag to prevent eggs and larvae developing.
- Professional fumigation controls larvae and pupae.
- Wash bedding in hot water or replace regularly.
- Spray garden sheds, cars and favoured outdoor sleeping spots.
Cat fleas hatch from flea pupae in your house in warm, humid conditions. Our carpeted, centrally heated homes are ideal for the year round development of fleas.
After feeding on a cat adult female fleas lay eggs that fall off onto couches, carpets and beds. The microscopic eggs develop first into larvae that migrate deep into carpets, furniture or cracks in floors away from the light, and then into pupae. The pupae contain adult fleas which lie in wait for the next cat or dog to pass.
Effective flea control depends on knowing the flea’s life cycle.
Dogs scoot their bottoms along the ground when they have anal gland problems, tapeworms or allergies.
If you catch your dog rubbing along on the carpet, worm him with a good quality wormer such as Drontal or Milbemax that covers all worms, especially tapeworm.
If he is still irritated or if he seems off colour then bring him in to the surgery. Many small dogs suffer from anal sac problems. The gland fills up with material too thick to empty through the small ducts in the anus. Usually we just express them and all is well.
Sometimes the material gets infected and the glands become swollen and painful. Your dog might have trouble defecating or lick the area a lot. The glands may break through the skin and discharge foul smelling fluid. At the surgery we clip and clean them as well as starting antibiotics and pain relief. If your dog has repeated anal gland infections we recommend surgery to remove them.
In spring and summer many allergic dogs rub, lick and scratch all over including their bottoms. Some dogs allergic to food proteins also rub their bottoms on the ground. Treatment for the allergies usually stops the rubbing and licking.
We have had our first tick paralysis cases for the season already. Signs of weakness and slobbering don’t show up until a few days after the ticks attach. Pets are often back in Canberra before owners notice something is wrong.
If you are off to the coast with your pets apply tick preventative BEFORE you go. Advantix should be applied (dogs only) 2 days before. Permethrin spray needs regular reapplication. Inspect and run your hands over all pets on the coast at least ONCE a day. We can’t rely on chemicals alone. Ticks sneak into skin folds near the ears, under the tail, in the groin and armpit, in the corners of the mouth and under the collar.