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Fleas are the most common external parasites of companion animals. In addition to causing itching and other skin problems, fleas can transmit diseases to animals and people. The majority of the flea population (i.e. eggs, larvae, and pupae) are found off the pet and around the home.
The ideal flea control program uses products that target all of the various stages of the flea life cycle and treats the pet’s environment.
The Life Cycle of the Flea: Ctenocephalides felis
The flea life cycle consists of egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. Eggs are laid in the hair coat and are designed to fall off your pet and into your home. Larvae hatch from the eggs and develop in a pet’s environment by feeding on adult flea feces (i.e. digested blood) that fall out of the hair coat of the pet. Larvae eventually spin cocoons, often within carpet fibers, for pupation. Pupae are resistant to freezing, drying, and insecticides, and can lie dormant for many months! New fleas develop from pupae and can begin feeding within hours of finding a dog or cat. The entire flea life cycle can be completed in as little as three weeks.
Today's Flea Control Products
In the past, veterinarians and pet owners had to try to control fleas by treating the environment of the animal for the immature flea stages. This approach was labor-intensive and required frequent applications. Although some older flea control products could be applied to pets, these products did not kill fleas quickly enough or were not long-lasting.
Today, veterinarians have some great flea control products in our arsenal. There are now many effective and safe new products to choose from.
Flea Control Recommendations
ALWAYS wait until all surfaces have dried before allowing your pets back into a treated area.
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