Sterner Veterinary Clinic

821 N. Jefferson St.
Ionia, MI 48846





These tiny, almost invisible pests can make life miserable and disrupt your household with a vicious cycle of biting and scratching. Fleas may also cause flea allergy dermatitis in some pets and may be carriers of dangerous diseases.

     Warm, humid months provide perfect breeding, feeding and hatching conditions for fleas. When conditions are right, the insect can go through its entire life cycle (from egg to adult) in as few as 10-14 days. An adult flea's life span can extend for several weeks on an untreated animal. Even in cool or cold weather months, the fight against the flea may not end. Outside conditions may prevent or limit flea development, but inside the home, certain temperature and humidity conditions can still affect flea growth, e.g. a warm humid home can encourage flea development.

     Fleas can get into your home from wildlife or other pets bringing them into your yard. Pets and humans can carry fleas from the yard into the house, and mice can also bring fleas directly into your home.

     Adult female fleas lay numerous eggs that fall off the animal and into its environment. When conditions are right, an egg hatches into a small larva which becomes a pupa and finally an adult flea. The pupa stage is extremely durable, and can live from year to year to keep the cycle going.

     It is not "normal" for either a dog or cat to have fleas. Fleas are an annoyance and a danger to your pet. Fleas can transmit tapeworms, and in some cases, the blood sucking activity of the fleas can cause enough blood loss in young animals to make them anemic. In addition, some animals become allergic to the saliva in the bite of a flea and when bitten develop a severe itching reaction known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis. In this case, even one flea on your pet is enough to cause itching. The reaction is much like a mosquito bite, because it continues to itch for days beyond the time of the actual bite. Because of this, fleas are not always present at the time of examination by your veterinarian. Animals will actually scratch themselves raw from the constant itching. Sometimes the scratching problem may be severe enough to require medical attention. Diligent flea control is the only way to keep flea problems under control.

     Because the same flea infects both dogs and cats, it is important to treat all your animals in your household for fleas, and not just those with severe itching problems. By treating all of your pets, animal to animal flea transmission is prevented.