Flea Facts and How to Protect Your Pet

April 13th, 2010

FleaFLEA FACTS

Flea Infestations are the most common parasite problem of dogs and cats in our area. It is estimated that American  pet owners spend over 500 million dollars each year on flea products most of which do not work! During the past few years much research has centered on studying the life cycle of the species of fleas that attack dogs and cats in an effort to develop better flea control methods. There are over 2000 species of fleas, but only a few actually attack dogs and cats

Here are some facts you should know:
 Flea eggs are white and about the size of a grain of sand. The eggs are laid while the flea is on the pet and easily roll off the fur into the environment. Eggs usually hatch in 1 10 days, depending on the temperature and humidity.  Once the eggs hatch, the larvae move deeper into the carpet to get away from light and searching for food. Temperatures below 650 and relative humidity below 70% slow down growth of the flea. When the larva is mature, it produces a silk like cocoon. Because the cocoon is sticky, it quickly becomes coated with debris from the environment that helps camouflage it. 

 This stage can last 9 174 days. Adult fleas emerge from the cocoon when stimulated by heat, vibrations, and exhaled carbon dioxide. The entire life cycle can be completed in as little as 12 14 days, or as long as 140 days.  Under average conditions, the entire life cycle takes 3 4 weeks.

 Adult fleas are attracted to house pets by the warmth of their body, movement, and changes in light intensity, and exhaled carbon dioxide. Fleas have tremendously powerful back legs, which they use for jumping on your pet. It is estimated that if we had the power in our legs that the a flea has; we could jump over the Empire State Building. It is reported that fleas can jump as high as 13 feet.

 It is now known that the adult flea species that attacks dogs and cats spends its ENTIRE Adult Life on your pet.  Once the adult flea begins to feed on your pet, it must have almost constant excess to the blood of your pet for it to survive. Adult fleas cannot live off your pet more than 3 4 days without a blood meal.

 Egg production begins within 48 hours of the first blood meal, reaches a peak of 40 50 eggs per day and can last well over 100 days. Female fleas can produce over 2000 eggs during their life. This is equivalent to producing their body weight in eggs every day of their life. While only a fraction of these eggs will eventually develop to adults in the natural environment, this high rate of reproduction ensures that there will ALWAYS be fleas!

 New adult fleas must have a blood meal within 2 3 weeks after hatching. The higher the temperature and lower the humidity, the quicker the fleas will die.

 It is common for people to be attacked by fleas after returning from vacation or being away from home for several days. This is often due to the increased temperature that occurs when the air conditioning is turned back providing a better optimum temperature and humidity (in our area) for fleas to mature.

 Fleas consume 15 times their body weight with every blood meal. An infestation of 220 female fleas could consume 10% of a 1-pound kitten’s blood volume in one day. The majority of blood
consumed is passed out as partially digested feces (”Flea Dirt”) that serve as essential food for flea larvae in the carpets and other areas.

FLEA CONTROL MUST INCLUDE TREATMENT OF THE YARD, HOUSE, & PET!

ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR FLEA CONTROL

SPOT TREAT THE YARD:
Treat shady areas, damp areas, dog houses, and other areas where your pet spends the majority of it’s time.  Call your local exterminator or yard care professional for more information on getting your yard sprayed for fleas.

TREAT THE HOUSE:
VACUUM the house THOROUGHLY, at least once each week to remove eggs.  This includes vacuuming all carpeted and non carpeted areas as well as your furniture.  When you are finished vacuuming make sure you take your bag out of your vacuum or empty your bagless container into a trash bag and take it outside to put in a closed container.  There are topical powders and OTC bombs you can buy to treat your home after you have cleaned it thoroughly.  Severe infestion usually requires professional bombing of your home by your local exterminator.

USE A VETERINARIAN APPROVED TOPICAL SOLUTION:
There are many OTC flea products out there however the best products to protect your pets from flea infestation can be found at your veterinarian’s office.  These topicals not only prevent against fleas but also prevent against other parasites such as ticks.  They are usually applied every 4 weeks to the skin inbetween the shoulder blades.  Go visit or call your veterinarian today to find out what is the best flea preventative for your pet.  At Brawley Animal Hospital we recommend treating your pet with Vectra.
ALL PETS IN THE HOUSEHOLD MUST BE TREATED AT THE SAME TIME.
TO WIN YOUR WAR WITH FLEAS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO TREAT THE YARD, HOUSE, AND PET AT THE SAME TIME USING APPROPRIATE PRODUCTS FOR EACH.
DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON OVER THE COUNTER PRODUCTS AND “QUICK CURES.”

Microchipping Your Pet

April 5th, 2010

Microchipping Your Pet

Dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects a microchip for pets, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.

A HomeAgain microchip is permanent pet ID. The microchip itself has no internal energy source, so it will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary to transmit the microchip’s unique cat or dog ID code and positively identify the pet.

HomeAgain is the only dog & cat microchipping product on the market today that has the Bio-Bond™ patented anti-migration feature to help ensure that the microchip will stay in place so that it may be easily located and scanned. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. This is the number used by HomeAgain to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet.

Click on the link below to watch a video on how to microchip your pet.

Microchipping Your Pet

This information can from HomeAgain microchips.  HomeAgain are the microchips we use at Brawley Animal Hospital!

Aggressive Dog

May 27th, 2009

The aggressive dog is a difficult problem.  If you are the owner of an aggressive dog, you should weigh the risks of keeping an aggressive pet against the benefits.  It is important that you consider the following:

 With proper treatment, the frequency and severity of aggression may be reduced, but in most cases it cannot be totally eliminated.

 Even after treatment, no one can guarantee that the aggression will never occur again.

  You are legally responsible for your dog’s behavior.

  It is important to realistically consider whether keeping the pet is worth the risks.

 Obtaining a thorough history is important in trying to find a solution to the problem of aggression. 

Please answer the following questions:

  Is your dog aggressive toward family members?

  Is it aggressive to adult family members?

  Is it aggressive to children family members?

  Is it aggressive to other pets in the household?

  Is your dog aggressive to non-family members?

  Is it aggressive to adult non-family members?

  Is it aggressive to children non-family members?

  Is it aggressive to pets not in the household?

  Is your dog’s aggressive behavior recent (within the past 6 months)?

  Did the problem develop gradually

  Is the problem getting worse?

  Does your dog growl or bark threateningly

   Does you’re dog snap?

  Is the aggressive behavior associated with play

  Has your dog ever bitten a person,

  Has your dog ever bitten another animal?

  Is your dog aggressive when approached while eating?

  Is your dog aggressive when disturbed when sleeping or resting?

  Is your dog aggressive when disciplined, threatened, punished, or hit?

  Is your dog aggressive when people enter your home?

  Is your dog aggressive when people enter your yard?

  Is your dog aggressive ONLY when reached for or approached?

  If your dog is female, has she been in heat or had puppies within the past 6 months

  Are their areas of your dog’s body that seem to be especially sensitive?

  Is the aggression related to attempts to groom, medicate, or handle?

  Does the dog have any health problems at this time?

  Do you notice your dog exhibiting fear (ears back, tail tucked)

  Does your dog only fight with dogs of the same sex?