April is Flea and Tick Awareness Month, and to honor it we'd like to share some facts about fleas and ticks and what you can do to protect your pet this spring season.
- 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, and once hatched, the larvae move deeper into the carpet to get away from light and search for food, eventually forming a cocoon and emerging in as little as 12 days or as many as 140 days. Adult fleas are attracted to house pets by the warmth of the pet's body, movement, changes in light intensity, and exhaled carbon dioxide.
- Fleas have tremendously powerful back legs, which they use for jumping on the pet. It is estimated that if we had the power in our legs as has the flea, we could jump over the Empire State Building. It is reported that fleas can jump as high as 13 feet!
- The adult flea species that attacks dogs and cats spends its entire adult life on the pet. Once the adult flea begins to feed on the pet, it must have almost constant access to the blood of the pet for it to survive. Adult fleas cannot live off the pet more than 3-4 days without a blood meal.
- 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 serves as essential food for flea larvae in the carpets and other areas.
- Ticks can actually live for several years!
- They attach to your pet to feed. Many times you will not see a tick on your pet until it has become completely engorged with blood.
- Many ticks transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis, which can seriously affect your pet's health.
- Lyme disease can cause fever, swelling of the joints, pain, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and lameness. If left untreated, permanent joint damage, heart, neurological and kidney disease can develop.
What You Can Do
Ask your veterinarian which preventative product is right for your pet. At Ashburn Village Animal Hospital, we offer Bravecto, Vectra, Scalibor and Revoluction for dogs and cats. We also offer Lyme vaccines!
Call us at (703) 729-0700 to schedule your pet's vaccination or to purchase flea and tick products today.