|Wellness News 8-3
Sunday, March 1, 2009
By Deana M. Newman, M.A., C.C.P.
Spring is right around the corner to please our senses through the sight of floral buds, green grass, birds singing, sunshine and warmer temperatures.
Though, along with the beauty of spring comes the arrival of pesky insects and if you have pets, the worry of blood-thirsty fleas is enough to terrorize you into wishing for winter's early return.
Flea season generally ends between the months of November through March, however, once infested into your home, can last all year long causing discomfort for not only your furry friend but your family as well.
The life cycle of a flea is dependent on humidity. According to the Entomology Department of the Ohio State University, “…completion of the life cycle from egg to adult varies from two weeks to eight months depending on the temperature, humidity, food, and species. Normally after a blood meal, the female flea lays about 15 to 20 eggs per day up to 600 in a lifetime usually on the host. Eggs loosely laid in the hair coat, drop out most anywhere especially where the host rests, sleeps or nests. Eggs hatch in two days to two weeks into larvae found indoors in floor cracks & crevices, along baseboards, under rug edges and in furniture or beds.”
The main warning signs of flea infestation are itching, rash formation and skin inflammation on both pets and humans. Once the home is infested, addition ailments can occur such as: (www.fda.gov)
o anemia in young, older or ill pets--pale gums, weakness, lethargy
o flea allergy dermatitis, high fever, delirium and severe headaches in humans
o transmission of tapeworm to pets--irritability, erratic appetite, shaggy coat, mild diarrhea, weight loss, seizures
o transmission by rodent fleas of plague to cats--fever, swollen lymph nodes, mouth sores, swollen tongue, cough, pneumonia
The good news is the above is preventable with the timely efforts of pet owners protecting their pets with anti-flea medication. Talk to your veterinarian about the best agents for your furry friend and choose to protect your home better than the goldfish in the photo.