Fleas are skin parasites which afflict all mammals, including humans.
They feed on their host's blood and, besides causing him discomfort, they can even cause anemia, when in high numbers, and allergic reactions to susceptible animals.
Furthermore, fleas can transport certain parasites like Dipylidium caninum that can infect dogs.
The flea evolves in four distinct phases: the egg, the larva, the pupa (cocoon), and the adult flea. Only the adult flea lives on the animal; the others are found in the environment.
The fleas on the dog will have their first blood meal 24 hours after jumping on the dog and females will lay their eggs, which can be up to fifty a day, 12 hours later.
These fall into the environment, hatch, and release larvae that continue their development by feeding on organic waste. The larvae take refuge in the slits of the floor, carpets, bedding, etc, and moult three times. During the third moult, the larvae surround themselves with a cocoon in which they transform into pupae and then into adult fleas.
Many factors influence the time it takes for the flea to become an adult, such as environmental temperature, the degree of humidity, and the season. In ideal conditions, the cycle can complete itself in two weeks.
Fleas can live several months on dogs and up to twelve months in their cocoon.
The diagnostic is confirmed by the observation of adult fleas in the dog's fur or of their stools, which typically look like small black comas that turn red when wet and crushed with a finger.
To prevent dogs from catching fleas, it is generally recommended to treat them preventively every month from spring to fall.
Please consult one of our staff members for guidance on the various products that are effective and safe for your companion.
It must be remembered though that everybody is at risk of catching fleas! Even the smallest dogs that stay inside all the time.
To treat a flea infestation, we generally administer an oral medication that will kill the adult fleas on the animal in just a few hours.
The treatment is then completed with a systemic product given every month for at least four months (six months in severe cases) to get rid of the eggs and larvas present in the environment.
Of course, all the animals in the house must be treated at the same time, even if they don't seem to be infested.
If needed, a vacuum cleaner can also be used to eliminate a certain number of them, but the bag must be taken outside the house immediately afterwards to prevent another contamination.
There are also products available that can be applied in the environment to help rapidly reduce the number of eggs and larvas present.
If needed, a certain number of parasites can be eliminated by vacuuming everywhere. The vacuum bag must be taken outside immediately afterwards to prevent fleas from contaminating the house again.
There are also products that can be applied in the house that help diminish the amount of eggs and larvas. However, since these products are powerful insecticides, it is important that every person and pet living in the house go outside during treatment.
Also, these products should never be used when there are pregnant or breastfeeding women in the house, nor young children and people suffering from respiratory ailments, etc.