Most fleas that we tend to see are of the variety that prefer cats. It may well be that you cat goes out and spends a few hours sitting under a hedge, collects a flea and brings it home where it can quickly turn into many more fleas, especially when the average temperature in your house will be a lot warmer than outdoors.
An awful lot of the skin problems seen by us tend to be caused by fleas, and most commonly we see flea bite allergy. The saliva from fleas is basically injected into the skin when a flea bites its host, and if repeated, some individuals will become very sensitive to it ultimately becoming allergic to it. In these cases we’ll see the pet lose hair, often develop small raised scabs over their back and be so itchy that they will find it difficult to settle, often losing weight. Not only that, but fleas are one potential source of tapeworm cysts so when grooming, the affected individual will eat the flea and in so doing will infect itself with tapeworm.
There are quite a few potential ways of treating your pet and your home.
Spot on treatments
These are compounds that are squeezed onto the surface of the skin and either remain on the surface, or go into the blood stream. When fleas come in contact with them, or consume them if in blood, the fleas are then killed. Not all of these compounds are the same with some being active against some types of worms as well.
These aren’t always that easy to use, especially on uncooperative cats!
An injection is available for cats of a compound that stops fleas breeding. It is very convenient, but it doesn’t actually kill them but it does mean that fleas picked up outside cannot produce more fleas. Depending upon lifestyle, this can work well for some cats.
One type of tablet available will kill fleas that are on the pet on the day that is given, whilst another type works like the injection described above and lasts a month at a time.
Sprays for your house
Sometimes, fleas will become a real nuisance in the household. In these cases, we can use sprays to treat the carpets which kill the fleas that are present and then remain in the environment preventing any new flea eggs from developing.
With so many different compounds available, we tend to look at a particular individual's lifestyle and then provide advice as specific as possible to your pet.
We also have to take into account the challenge of ticks which might be a problem for certain pets with certain lifestyles, whilst many others will never encounter them.
Some compounds available freely over the counter and in supermarkets are not necessarily as safe as you might think, especially for cats so it is always worth getting the right advice.