This is a picture of a flea laying eggs taken down our practice microscope by vet Ian Wright. We regularly take samples both for diagnosis of an animals condition and training of our veterinary nurses, this was a routine sample that revealed something you could spend months looking for! Fleas are particularly common at this time of year.
Here are some facts about the little, but persistent, flea;
Fleas are dark brown, thin, wingless insects, which can be seen, they move quickly making them hard to spot. They leave specks of dried blood in the coat (flea dirt) which is easier to see, especially in cats where grooming means fleas are swallowed.
Fleas lay non sticky eggs in the coat which fall off wherever the pet goes. Fleas spend 95% of their life in carpets and soft furnishings (also cars, sheds, caravans etc.) as eggs and larvae, treatment must address this . The flea’s life on a pet is short, 7-14 days, eggs can survive over a year hatching when they sense a host. This is why fleas can suddenly ‘appear’.
Fleas are caught from other animals and, in the summer, the garden. Most fleas on cats and dogs are cat fleas.
Fleas make your pet (and you!) itch (excessive grooming in cats), producing bald patches and scabs. Fleas spread TAPEWORMS.
Combs, powders, collars, shampoos and many pet shop/supermarket products are often not satisfactory in treating this parasite.