By: Taylor Oberkramer
Fleas are pesky creatures and can cause our pets a great deal of discomfort. They are notorious for hiding and being hard to find, but it’s hard to forget about them once you do find them. They cause itching, possible skin reactions, and annoyance to you and your cat. If you’ve spotted fleas on your feline friend, don’t panic. There are options for treatment that make it easy to help your pet feel comfortable again in no time.
Signs of Fleas
The most common type of flea that feeds cats, dogs, and even humans is the Ctenocephalides felis. There are various signs of fleas, including:
- Excessive biting and scratching. Many cats will resort to biting themselves and scratching incessantly if they have fleas. Flea numbers grow rapidly, and it won’t take very many fleas for your cat to start itching. Not only are the bites aggravating, sometimes cats have an allergic reaction to the flea saliva which causes further irritation.
- Hair loss. Hair loss around the tail or neck can happen as a result of allergic reactions.
- Lethargy. Many cats become lethargic due to the loss of blood, which results in anemia.
- You may even be able to see the fleas. If you look at your cat’s stomach, legs, tail, or behind the ears you may see the fleas moving and crawling through the fur.
How to Treat Fleas
There are several options for flea treatment available from any veterinary clinic. Frontline is a great product you can purchase yourself without a prescription that works well. It contains the active ingredient fipronil, which works to kill fleas, larvae, and their eggs. You can also call your regular vet for prescription treatment options. Because of the flea life cycle, topical treatments will need to be used monthly for a minimum of three months to be effective.
If your cat lives inside, it’s important to also treat their living spaces, such as bedding, couches, and carpet where there may be fleas present. Certain insecticides will kill fleas, as well as washing and vacuuming where possible. This process takes time so don’t give up!
Effects on Your Cat’s Health
Not only can fleas cause severe itching or stinging, they also carry other diseases and can cause other conditions to your cats health and well-being. These include:
- Anemia. If a flea infestation has been present for a while, it can actually cause anemia from blood loss. This can be serious in any cat but especially kittens.
- Tapeworms. Fleas are known to carry the tapeworm parasite which needs treatment as well.
- Mycoplasma haemofelis. Fleas can also carry a blood borne parasite in cats called Mycoplasma haemofelis. This can cause fever, anemia, and severe illness if untreated. Your veterinarian will have to perform a test and treat this condition with antibiotics.
If you live in NW Wisconsin, Purple Cat Mobile Vet Clinic is here to help you keep your cat healthy and happy. We’re a high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic. We see cats exclusively. Find information for scheduling on our www.purplecatvet.com website. You can also look on our Facebook page for more helpful information on all things feline!