This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Fleas are commonly found on cats and dogs and there are very good reasons why they should be controlled by regular preventative treatment ......
Finding a flea on a cat or dog often causes an immediate response in owners ..not dissimilar to the effect spiders have on arachnophobic people ! Flea bites are painful and itchy, and people can develop an allergy to them ...and sometimes more serious disease....
Fleas are often found on cats and dogs which do not scratch or show any signs of skin disease. In other individuals fleas cause intense itchiness and can lead to hair loss and severe self-trauma through biting, scratching and rubbing. Many cats and dogs develop an allergic response to flea saliva , so each time they are bitten the skin reaction can become more severe. It is very important to control fleas for these animals to relieve them of the discomfort.
Even more sinister are the diseases that can be transmitted to pet dogs, cats and humans from fleas. These include some types of tapeworm infection (eg Dipylidium) and also infectious bacteria such as Haemobartonella and Bartonella. Cats and dogs may carry these infections without showing any external signs of disease, but some of them can be transmitted to humans - especially children and people with immune problems. For example, Bartonella causes cat scratch disease in people.
So, routine flea control treatment is necessary not only to reduce the direct effects of flea bites, and the possible development of flea allergies but also to control the transmission of these infectious diseases.
A proper flea control regimen includes killing adult fleas on the animal and in the environment, and interfering with the life cycle of the flea to reduce the viability of flea eggs and larvae.
Your veterinary practice will advise you about the most appropriate preparation to use in your environment.
Updated October 2013