BLOG / BUBONIC PLAGUE IS BACK - ARE FLEAS MORE THAN JUST A PROBLEM FOR PETS?
BUBONIC PLAGUE IS BACK - ARE FLEAS MORE THAN JUST A PROBLEM FOR PETS?
September 17, 2012
Categories: Common Pests, Health and Safety, Urban Services, Fleas
Fleas are tiny pests that may seem to drive your pets crazy. Even a couple of fleas on your pet can send him into random fits of itching, scratching and biting at himself. As a pet owner, you certainly don't want to see your pet miserable with tiny bugs biting at him all day and night. There are some home remedies for flea control that you may try, but these home remedies often provide mediocre results at best. There may be reasons to consider stronger remedies for rapid and effective flea eradication in your home.
How Are Fleas Spread?
Fleas most commonly enter your home by taking a ride on your pet. These tiny pests can lie in your yard and wait for your dog or cat to walk by. With the ability to jump about 10 to 13 inches, your pet can simply walk within close proximity to a flea and have that flea jump onto his fur. A single female flea can lay about 25 eggs each day. This means that once a flea is on your dog, chances are that your dog will also be carrying numerous flea eggs that can hatch and create a more significant problem. Fleas do not always remain on their animal host. They can hide in your pet's bedding, in your rug, and other such places. They can also jump onto you and your family members.
Common Home Remedies
It is common for pet owners to take numerous steps to attempt to get rid of fleas on their pet. Bathing a dog or cat with a flea-killing agent is a common step to take. Some pet shampoos are designed to kill fleas, and others are designed to kill both fleas and eggs. There are also flea collars, flea-killing sprays to be applied directly to pets and flea-killing powder and sprays that you can apply to furnishings, carpeting and more. Vacuuming your home frequently can also remove some of the fleas and flea eggs that are lying in the carpeting and rugs. You can even buy flea-killing sprays and dry agents that can be spread across your yard to kill fleas that are lying in wait outside.
Why Are Fleas So Difficult to Get Rid Of?
If you have already tried to get rid of the pets to your home without success, you are not alone. Many pet owners struggle for months without seeing much success. After bathing your dog or cat with flea shampoo, for example, you may notice that your dog or cat doesn't itch much for the next day or two. However, within a short period of time, you may soon notice that your dog or cat begins itching again, and you may see those tiny fleas crawling in his fur. You may decide to wage a veritable war against fleas, taking numerous approaches to kill the fleas on your pet, in your home and in your yard all at once. These efforts may provide some results, but again, in many cases the fleas will return. The fact is that flea eggs can be difficult to get rid of through these methods, and once the flea eggs hatch, your problem has returned. Further, other critters could be carrying fleas into your yard. Consider, for example, if animals like stray cats and dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, wild deer and more may venture into your yard from time to time. These animals can carry fleas. Just as fleas can hop onto an animal, fleas can hop off of these animals and land right in your yard.
The Dangers to Pets
The fact is that fleas can make your pets miserable with their constant biting, but they can also affect their health. Fleas are known to cause a wide range of health issues in pets. These issues include hair loss, allergic skin conditions, tape worms, flea allergy dermatitis, anemia and more. Some pets are extremely allergic to fleas, and even a single flea bite can cause an allergic reaction across almost their entire body.
The Dangers to Humans
Fleas can have negative and even deadly health effects on humans as well. Fleas can bite humans just as they can bite animals, and these bits can cause itchy welts. However, in addition to the annoyance of bug bits, if a portion of an infected flea is ingested by a human, a human can develop tape worms from fleas. Further, fleas have been known to transmit the bubonic plague. The bubonic plague can be found in bacteria that are common to rodents. When a flea bites an infected rodent and then bites a human, that person can contract bubonic plague. In fact, a case of plague believed to be transmitted by a flea bite was reported in New Mexico in May 2011.
As you can see, eliminating fleas from your home and yard quickly is vital to the health and well-being of your pets and your family. You can continue to make use of over-the-counter, store-bought methods of flea control, but many people will eventually give up and call in a professional pest control company to treat the home and yard. Because fleas can continue to enter your yard through other animals, repeat treatments with a regular pest control service may provide optimal results.
By Content Provider(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / Janice Carr [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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