Spring is just around the corner and with it brings the threat of fleas for many pets. Fleas are parasites that live on the skin of mostly cats and dogs. They can also live on ferrets, rabbits, and other small mammals that are kept as pets.
Along with fleas comes the threat of a number of diseases and illnesses that could be transmitted to your pet if they aren't properly protected. Here's a list of the most common diseases transmitted to pets by fleas.
A very large infestation of fleas can cause anemia in pets. Anemia from fleas is more likely to occur in smaller animals like kittens, puppies, and ferrets. Since fleas take blood meals from the animals they infest, a large infestation could be life-threatening for younger animals.
While tapeworms are not typically life-threatening, it is less than pleasant to know that your pet has them. Dogs and cats get tapeworms by ingesting and infected flea. After the flea is swallowed, an adult tapeworm forms in the animal's stomach 21 days later. Fortunately, tapeworms are easy to clear up.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Many cats and dogs are allergic to fleas. When a flea takes a blood meal from an animal, it injects some of its saliva under the animal's skin. The proteins in the saliva causes an allergic reaction in many pets. Just one flea bite could cause an allergic pet to be itchy for weeks.
Fleas can also transmit more serious diseases to humans so it's important to keep them under control. There are a number of flea prevention products available to pet owners today that are safe for use in most domestic pets. Consult your veterinarian about which flea prevention option is best for you and your pets. Never apply flea prevention medication to your pet without talking to your veterinarian about it first!
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