Fleas are blood sucking insects that feed on warm blooded animals. They are around 2mm in length and are an oval shape when looked at from the side. All adult fleas are wingless and vary in colour from greyish through to dark mahogany. Adult mouths parts are well adapted to sucking blood from the host and therefore parasitic but the larvae are not parasitic living on dust fluff and dead skin.
There are several species of flea including:
Although each species of flea has a preferred host, both cat and dog fleas can be found on, and feed from, other animals including humans. Of all the species the cat flea is probably the most commonly found in domestic situations. As well as being found on the host, fleas can frequently be found in the host's bedding. It is fair to say that practically all cats will pick up fleas at one time or another and it is wise to take precautions against this, such as fitting a cat with a flea collar.
It is important to regularly check pets for any sign of fleas. This can be done by grooming the pet with a flea comb. If a flea is found it can be disposed of by placing it under hot water in a small bowl. Flea collars fitted to cats and dogs are effective for several months. More advice on preventive measures can be obtained from your veterinary surgeon. Pets which have fleas should only be treated with proprietary flea treatments, available from chemist shops or veterinary surgeons and the manufacturers instructions Care is required when dealing with cats and puppies as they may be sensitive to some insecticides. In case of doubt the advice of a veterinary surgeon should be obtained.
Wherever a flea problem is detected and the animal has been treated, it is essential that the premises is treated as well. The animal's bedding and areas where it spends a lot of time should be cleaned, preferably using a vacuum cleaner. The animal's bedding should be laundered. You should seek advice from a professional pest control operative before using pesticides and insecticides.
Last updated Thursday, 6th December 2018