IN THE past few weeks we've started to see some heavily flea infested pets.
For individual animals, who are very sensitive to flea bites, owners tend to notice this pretty early on.
But for those pets that aren't so troubled by fleas, things can get really out of hand before people notice.
I'm talking hundreds of passengers here, a crawling seething mass of blood sucking, high jumping, scuttling parasites.
Even en masse, they're often invisible to casual observation.
But if you look closely, oh... the horror! It becomes more disturbing when you remember each of those female fleas is laying an egg every hour.
In less than three weeks, those same eggs will have been through their life cycle and turned into more egg laying adults laying an egg an hour and so on. The arithmetic becomes very scary, very quickly.
The flea eggs are laid on the host animal but are designed to roll off into the surrounding environment where the newly hatched larva, an tiny unattractive hairy sticky grub-like creature, can feed off its mother's excrement.
This occurs in soils and on carpets or any slightly porous or fibrous indoor surface.
Fleas are not housetrained when it comes to laying eggs.
Pet owners constantly tell me "we don't have fleas in the house".
If your dog or cat has fleas and spends time in the house, they act like mobile saltshakers, sprinkling your house with shiny smooth oval flea eggs the size of a grain of salt, so you will have fleas in the house.
Cat and dog fleas will not usually feed on the pet's human owners, unless there are no cats or dogs in the house - or unless numbers are astronomical.
In addition to the eggs and larvae in the environment, the next stage, the pupa is there as well.
These are in a protective cocoon which provides protection from nearly everything, including insecticides.
This is why a multi-pronged integrated approach is necessary. Your vet can help.
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