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The flea is a hardy insect with a lifespan of six to 12 months. During that time, a pair of fleas could produce millions of offspring. Fleas have survived millions of years in a variety of environments.
Fleas can cause reactions in your pet varying from a mild skin irritation to a severe allergic reaction. Because fleas feed on blood, an extreme infestation can cause anemia or even death in animals. All cats and dogs, and other mammals, too, are susceptible to flea infestations.
Whether or not you actually see fleas on your pet, they may be there. Scratching, scabs and dark specks, or "flea dirt," found on the skin can all be signs that your pet has fleas. Fleas can carry tapeworms, too. If you notice small white rice-like things in your pet’s feces or in the hair around his anus, your pet probably has tapeworms, which means he may also have fleas.
To be rid of a flea infestation requires patience and consistency. Because the life cycle of a flea is three to four weeks, it will take at least that long to completely rid your pet and its environment of fleas. Different flea control products work in different ways, have varying levels of effectiveness and kill different flea stages (eggs, larvae and/or adults).
Adults may be in your home or yard, as well as eggs and larvae. You will need to treat your house by vacuuming, washing your pet’s bedding, and using a disinfectant on washable surfaces and an insecticide or insect growth regulator in cracks and crevices every two to four weeks. When using chemical products to control fleas, be very careful. If yours is an outside pet, you will need to treat the yard as well. Sometimes you may need the assistance of a professional exterminator to rid your home and yard of fleas.  Always check with your veterinarian before starting any treatment program
They are many options for flea control. There are products available that you can treat your pet with once a month that will help keep fleas away. Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, act like flea hormones to interrupt the life cycle of the flea, preventing them from maturing into adult fleas. Lufenuron (Program) is one example of an IGR. With IGR’s, flea bites may still occur as it does not kill adult fleas. Fipronil (Frontline) disrupts the insect central nervous system, slowly killing adult fleas and ticks. Spinosad (Comfortis) kills fleas by causing rapid excitation of their nervous system. Depending on the product used, you may be giving your pet a pill or applying a liquid substance to one area of his skin. These treatments are done monthly. For cats, there is an option of an injectable, Feline Program, given every 6 months. Always consult your veterinarian before using any product, as they are able to help you determine what will work most effectively for your pet. Be very careful to use the products as directed; some may be effective for dogs, but toxic to cats.

Those Horrible, Annoying Fleas.

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