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How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?

How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?

Out of all of the external parasites, fleas are the most common, and they can make your cat or dog very uncomfortable. If they are not treated quickly they could cause a range of infections and serious diseases. Today, our Houston County vets share with you the early signs of fleas and provide you with ways you can treat your pet if they have them.

What are fleas?

Fleas are external parasites that need an animal host to survive. If you don't take the required steps to break the life cycle of the fleas they will keep reproducing and living on your cat or dog and in your home. 

The Signs of a Flea Infestation

Your pet could have an allergy to the protein in the flea's saliva which could make them scratch the second they are bitten by a flea. A single flea bite is enough to agitate your pet and make them excessively scratch.

Other than scratching, your cat or dog could get red bumps or pimples at the base of their tail, on their belly, on their behind, on their groin, or below their legs. When your furry friend constantly itches and scratches at these areas it can cause dry skin, hair loss, lesions, infection, and more serious diseases if the leas are not treated.

How to Check Your Cat or Dog for Fleas

Adult fleas are small, brown, and generally easy to see with the naked eye. 

We recommend checking your pet's brush or comb while you are grooming them. If you have your pet lay on their side, you should be able to get a better look at places that have thinner fur such as their abdomen. 

You might find "flea dirt". This looks similar to tiny grains of sand, or black pepper when wet. To check for flea dirt (feces), use a fine-tooth flea comb available at your vet's office to comb along your pet's back and underbelly. By standing your pet on a white towel or cloth while brushing them, you will be able to easily see any black droppings that fall from their fur. 

If You Can't Find Fleas and Your Pet is Still Scratching

If you can't find any signs of fleas but your cat or dog is still scratching, make an appointment with your vet, who will conduct a skin test to check for flea allergies, as well as other types of allergies during your visit. Your pet could be reacting to another type of allergy that's making them uncomfortable.  

How to Get Rid of Your Cat or Dog's Fleas

A number of safe and effective treatments can be used to eliminate fleas, including shampoos, sprays, powders, and topical liquids. You may need to visit your vet for prescription creams and antibiotics if your pet's case is more severe. 

Early treatment and prevention are the first methods of choice to ensure your cat or dog doesn't develop more serious issues in the future, as a result of fleas. 

If your cat or dog is suffering from a severe case of fleas contact our Houston County vets quickly because prompt treatment is critical. 

New Patients Welcome

Smith Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Houston County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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