News & Information

News & Updates from the park

25

Apr 2012

Warning!

Posted by / in Information /

Kilcona Dog Park Flea Infestation Alert

 

Kilcona Park Dog Club Gold Sponsor, McPhillips Animal Hospital advises that several dogs who regularly visit Kilcona Park are being treated for moderate to heavy flea infestations.

Fleas have a complex life-cycle, most of which takes place away from your pet so treating fleas requires a multipronged approach. You need to treat your dog as well as your home and the dog`s environment.

If your dog has fleas, speak with your veterinarian right away.

If your dog has fleas, please be considerate of other park visitors and their pets. Help curb the infestation.

Remove your dog from the park and don’t bring him back until your certain he’s free of fleas!

The following information, approved by McPhillips Animal Hospital,  is designed to help you understand how fleas are transmitted and what to do if you discover your dog has fleas.

Fleas 101

To protect your pet, you need to know a little bit about fleas. Fleas like to live and breed in a warm, humid environment. They are most active during summer and fall, however cold does not harm adult fleas and they can live on your pet through the winter

The life cycle of a flea includes four stages — eggs, larvae, pupae or nymphs, and adults.

The adult female flea must have a blood meal to lay eggs. Female fleas can lay up to 2,000 eggs in their lifetime.

The eggs hatch into larvae in about one to six days. The larvae feed on dead organic matter, including adult flea feces, for the next seven days.

Then the larvae pupate. The adult normally emerges from the pupa after about six months. However a flea can wait inside the pupa for up to a year before emerging as an adult.

Then the cycle begins again. The newly hatched adult fleas must eat within a few days and so they go in search of a meal. Their preferred food source is your dog but fleas also bite people.

How Fleas Spread

Adult fleas spread very easily.  They are great jumpers. They hide in bushes and grass. They can easily jump from the grass onto your dog, or hop from one dog to another.

Flea eggs can get into a dog’s fur when he rolls around on the ground. Flea larvae flourish in carpets, upholstery and shady areas where infested dogs have been. The larvae don’t travel except to move away from bright lights.

The Itchy, Uncomfortable Truth

The adult stage is most visible and irritating to your dog. But the irritation can go beyond simple itching and scratching.

If a dog is allergic to flea saliva, one bite can send him into a scratching frenzy, known as pruritus, which can last for weeks. Pruritis itching is much more severe; it may lead to hair loss, inflammation, and secondary skin infections.

A flea bite can also transmit tapeworm, which can lead to serious anemia and weight loss.

How do you know if your dog has fleas?

Fleas have a flattened body, are brown to brownish-black, are one-twelfth to one-sixteenth of an inch long, and have six legs.

Watch your pet for signs of flea trouble: excessive scratching and biting, especially around the tail and lower back, and possibly raw patches where your dog has been biting and scratching himself. Examine your pet and his bedding as frequently as possible.

One likely place to spot fleas on your dog is at the base of his tail. To search for fleas, part your dog`s hair down to the skin. Fleas are also commonly visible around the head and neck and in the “armpits”, belly and inner thighs.

You may be able to see the tiny parasites scuttling through your dog’s hair. If you don’t see the actual fleas, a tell-tale sign is ‘flea debris’, black, granular dried blood that looks like specks of black pepper.

A flea comb can help you look for fleas on a thicker coat or on pigmented skin. If you see or feel dark grit in your dog’s coat, take some off and put it on a white paper towel. Add a drop of water. If the grit dissolves and turns red, you know it is flea feces.

Remember – If your dog has fleas, speak with your veterinarian right away.

If your dog has fleas, please be considerate of other park visitors and their pets. Help curb the infestation.

Remove your dog from the park and don’t bring him back until your certain he’s free of fleas!

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