Fleas And Flea Control

What are fleas?

Fleas are small blood sucking insects that live on cats, dogs, hedgehogs, rabbits and various other species of wildlife. The adult fleas lay eggs that fall out of your pet’s coat into their environment-your carpets, bedding, and furniture. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day! The eggs hatch out and release larvae which feed and then pupate. Pupae can remain dormant for many months, eventually hatching (stimulated by vibration, carbon dioxide and warmth) into young adults.  95% of the flea life cycle occurs in the environment – the fleas you see on your pet are therefore just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

What problems do fleas cause?

The major sign of flea infestation is scratching. There are other causes of scratching but fleas are the most common cause that we encounter.

A number of pets develop an allergic reaction to the saliva of the flea bite and become hypersensitive. Just one bite can trigger severe skin disease in these individuals. Typically dogs persistently nibble over their back and rump and will eventually lose their hair. Cats tend to develop a scabby reaction along their back and neck called miliary eczema.

Excessive grooming and nibbling causes loss of hair over their back and groin. 

Severe flea infestations in puppies and kittens can cause blood loss and anaemia.

Fleas are involved in the transmission of tapeworms.   

‘Fleas And Tapeworm’

Can fleas infest humans?

Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) is the most common type of flea found on both cats and dogs. They will bite humans, but they will not survive and stay on us – they much prefer our pets!

How do you treat and control fleas?

This has to be considered a two-pronged attack:

1. Killing the adult fleas on your pet

2. Dealing with eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment.

How to get rid of a flea infestation

  • Correctly apply a pipette of your veterinary supplied ‘spot on’ treatment to all the dogs and cats in your home. You must make sure you use the correct size for each of your pet’s weight. This will kill any adult fleas on your pet within 24 hours. It will also kill any more that jump on and sterilise their eggs so they don’t hatch.
  • Vacuum your home thoroughly moving all the furniture, even if you have wooden or laminate flooring. This removes some but NOT ALL of the eggs, larvae and pupae.
  • Wash all your pets bedding at 60°C to kill any of the immature stages.
  • Thoroughly spray all floor space in your home with a veterinary recommended household insecticidal spray. Remember to do everywhere your pet goes including the car. This kills flea eggs and larvae in your home but it DOES NOT kill the pupae.
  • There is no product available which kills pupae so you must encourage the pupae to hatch out so they will jump onto your pet and be killed by the ‘spot on’ treatment. To do this you must provide warmth, vibration and humidity by turning up the heating and vacuuming to generate warmth and vibration.
  • Continue to let your pets have their usual run of the house to allow the new adult fleas to jump onto your pet and be killed.
  • Continue vacuuming and treatment with a ‘spot on’ product all year round for all your pets as it can take several months to remove a flea infestation from your home.

A common reason for disappointing results when using ‘spot on’ treatments on your pets is that the fleas in the environment are not dealt with. There is a vast array of veterinary supplied spot-on and spray products which are safe and effective to use on your pet and in the environment.

Another reason we see animals with fleas is due to ineffective treatment.  While some other products available elsewhere may be cheaper, they are often not effective or cause reactions.  All our products are safe, easy to use and effective so you will save yourself money in the long run by using the right product the first time.

If you are unsure on what treatment is best for your pet, then please feel free to come and talk to your receptionist, veterinary nurse or veterinary surgeon at your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets. We will be able to advise you on the best products for your situation.

Useful links:
www.itsajungle.co.uk 

ESCCAP Leaflet – Fleas

ESCCAP Leaflet – Are you at risk from parasites?

Caring For Your Kitten

1.Feeding:
From weaning age we recommend feeding a complete and balanced good quality kitten food until your kitten is at least six months of age. After this your cat can move onto an adult food to continue their optimum development. We recommend the Royal Canin range which is available from the veterinary practice and we will be happy to advise you on a suitable diet for your cat throughout their life. The food is specifically designed to provide the correct levels of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals for a growing kitten. The diets are fully balanced but always ensure there is a constant supply of drinking water available.

2.Vaccination:
This consists of a course of two vaccinations– one which is given at 8-9 weeks of age and the second which is given at 12 weeks. These protect against Feline Influenza, Feline Infectious Enteritis and Feline Leukaemia. To maintain your cat’s immunity against these diseases (which in some cases can be fatal) a yearly booster is required. We will send you a reminder when it is due but please make sure you keep their vaccination certificate in a safe place and make a note on the calendar when it is due!

3.Worming and Flea Control:
This  is necessary  for all  cats  throughout  their  life  not just when they are kittens. They should be wormed with a veterinary supplied broad spectrum multiwormer. Often supermarket and pet-shop wormers will only treat one or two types of worms so will not always be effective. Your kitten should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks and then once every 3 months thereafter. There are spot on treatments available for easy administration as well as tablets. To help you remember we will send you a reminder when the next dose is due!
We advise regular treatment for fleas all year round to prevent infestations. This is easily achieved by using a treatment available from the veterinary practice. Please feel free to ask for advice on the products which best suit your kitten’s situation.

4.Microchipping:
This is an extremely important way of identifying your kitten should they ever go missing. It is a permanent form of identification, which is especially important if your cat does not wear a collar or ID tag. A small microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is inserted in the excess skin of your kitten’s neck. This chip contains a unique number which is read by using a scanner. This number is registered along with your contact details with the microchip database. It is important to inform the database if your details change. All stray animals are scanned and on reading the chip, the database would be contacted and you would be reunited with your cat as quickly as possible. Without this permanent method of identification your cat may not be traced back to you and may even be re-homed.

5.Neutering:
Our policy is to neuter both male and female cats from 4-6 months of age before they become sexually mature. This significantly reduces the number of unwanted litters and helps to eliminate medical and behavioural problems associated with entire male and female cats. Once your cat has been neutered you may need to reduce the amount of food they require as it is quite common for neutered cats to gain a little weight due to the change in hormones. There is a diet lower in calories available for neutered cats at the veterinary practice and we will be happy to advise you.

6.Dental Care:
We clean our teeth several times a day and have regular check ups with a dentist. Imagine what our mouths would be like if we didn’t- Cats are no exception! It is important to develop a dental care regime for your kitten at an early age, which you can continue throughout their life. The gold standard of dental care is to brush your kitten’s teeth once a day (usually at bedtime) with a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste.  Human formulas are not suitable as they require rinsing. Cat toothpastes are available in a range of flavours and your cat will probably regard it as a treat! These kits and other dental products, including  dental biscuits are available from the veterinary practice. We will be happy to advise you on the most suitable products for your kitten.

7.Pet Healthcare Plan:
Cinque Ports Vets Pet Healthcare Plan enables you to pay monthly for your preventative veterinary treatments. We all want to use the best products available for our pets and at Cinque Ports Vets we want to make preventative healthcare easy and affordable to help give you and your pets the best care possible. You also receive an overall saving on your pets’ vaccinations, healthcheck, worming and flea treatment as well as many other discounts as a reward for joining our scheme. The plan is available for dogs, cats and rabbits from any age and the monthly payment plan will be dependent on the bodyweight of your pet. Please see Pet Healthcare Plan or contact us for more information. Please be aware this is not an insurance policy but a preventative healthcare plan to help spread the cost of routine treatments which insurance does not cover.

8.Insurance:
Pet insurance is an essential requirement to help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary fees. Accidents can happen especially with inquisitive kittens! These can be expensive but being insured means you can have peace of mind. There are a variety of policies available to suit you and your budget and it is always important to read the small print!

9. House Training:
Most kittens will now have a good basic understanding of appropriate toileting behaviour. Their litter tray should be placed in a quiet corner of a room. A covered litter tray may be preferable to your kitten if they are shy and may be more inclined to use a private area. It is normal for your kitten to have accidents but it is important to remember not to tell them off. A variety of litter and litter trays are available. If you are concerned please feel free to ask for advice.


10. Grooming:
Handling your kitten regularly will improve their confidence and your relationship with your kitten. This allows you to look in their ears, check their teeth, open their mouth and examine their paws with ease which will become very important later on in life if medication is required for any problems. Grooming your kitten regularly (on a daily basis if long haired) will prevent their coat becoming matted and allow you to check for any problems.

Myxomatosis In Rabbits

Your rabbit should be protected against two major diseases called Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (both strains). These can be potentially fatal.

Myxomatosis is a widespread disease caused by a virus. All types of rabbit are potentially susceptible, including house rabbits.

The disease is spread by blood- sucking insects such as the rabbit flea and mosquitoes. When an infected insect bites a rabbit, a small amount of the virus is placed in their skin as the insect feeds. Within a few days the virus passes into the rabbit’s blood spreading it to several sites. The virus mainly multiplies in the skin around the eyes, nose, face, skin inside their ears and around the anus and genitalia areas. It is best to try and prevent your rabbit from coming into contact with wild rabbits as they tend to carry a lot of fleas and can themselves be infected.

Generally the first sign of infection that you will notice are puffy eyes, lips and ears as well as swellings around their genitalia. Within 24 hours these swellings can become very severe, eating and drinking becomes more difficult and unfortunately death usually occurs within 2 weeks of infection. Some rabbits do survive the disease with intensive nursing but they are usually left with severe scarring and scabs over their body.

There is no specific treatment for Myxomatosis so it is vital that you ensure your rabbit is protected against it.

The most effective way to do this is by flea and insect control and vaccination.

Spot on treatments are available to protect your rabbit against fleas and nets over their hutches will help with mosquito control.

The vaccination against both Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease can be given from 5 weeks of age, with booster vaccinations given annually and it offers the best possible chance of immunity.

Caring For Your Puppy

1. Feeding:
From weaning age we recommend feeding a complete and balanced good quality puppy food until your puppy is at least six months of age. If your puppy is a large, fast growing breed there are large breed diets available. After this your dog can move onto an adult food to continue their optimum development. We recommend the Royal Canin range which is available from the veterinary practice and we will be happy to advise you on a suitable diet for your dog throughout their life. The food is specifically designed to provide the correct levels of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals for a growing puppy. There is no need to use supplements, but always ensure there is a constant supply of drinking water available.

2. Vaccination:
This consists of a course of two vaccinations-one which is given at 8 weeks of age and the second which is given at 12 weeks. These protect against Distemper (Hardpad), Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus and ParaInfluenza. Your puppy will be able to go out for walks one week after the second vaccination. To maintain your dog’s immunity against these diseases (which in some cases can be fatal) a yearly booster is required. We will send you a reminder when it is due but please make sure you keep their vaccination certificate in a safe place and make a note on the calendar when it is due!

3.Worming and Flea Control:
This is necessary for all dogs throughout their life not just when they are puppies. They should be wormed with a veterinary supplied broad spectrum multiwormer. Often supermarket and pet-shop wormers will only treat one or two types of worms so will not always be effective. Your puppy should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks and then once every 3 months thereafter. To help you remember we will send you a reminder when the next dose is due!
We advise regular treatment for fleas all year round  to  prevent  infestations. This is easily achieved by using a treatment available from the veterinary practice. Please feel free to ask for advice on the products which best suit your puppy’s situation.

4.House Training:
Begin toilet training as early as possible. Take your puppy outside on a regular basis to a designated area in the garden. Your puppy will need to go out at least every 2 hours especially after sleeping, eating or playing. Always praise them when they have finished and keep an eye on them when they are in the house for any signs of whining, sniffing the ground or looking uncomfortable. Take them outside straight away as young pups cannot hold on very long. You can also provide your puppy with a small area indoors covered with newspaper for them to use for their toilet area. It is normal for your puppy to have accidents but it is important to remember not to tell them off. These accidents will decrease in frequency and eventually stop altogether. Please feel free to ask for any help and advice or see our information sheet on Toilet Training.

5.Microchipping:
It is a legal requirement to have your puppy microchipped by 8 weeks of age and keep their contact details up to date with the database.
This is an extremely important way of identifying your puppy should they ever go missing. It is a permanent form of identification which should be used along with a collar and ID tag. A small microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is inserted in the excess skin of your puppy’s neck. This chip contains a unique number which is read by using a scanner. This number is registered along with your contact details with the microchip database. All stray animals are scanned and on reading the chip the database would be contacted and you would be reunited with your dog as quickly as possible. Without this permanent method of identification your dog may not be traced back to you and may even be re-homed.

6.Neutering:
Our policy is to spay bitches from 6 months of  age before their first season. This can significantly reduce their chances of developing mammary tumours and pyometras (infection of the uterus) later in life. Male dogs should also be castrated at 6 months of age as this helps prevent them from developing prostate problems and testicular tumours later in life. Once your dog has been neutered, you may need to reduce the amount of food they require as it is quite common for neutered dogs to gain a little weight due to the reduction in hormones. There is a diet lower in calories available for neutered dogs at the veterinary practice and we will be happy to advise you.

7.Dental Care:
We clean our teeth several times a day and have regular check ups with a dentist.  Imagine what our mouths would be like if we didn’t – Dogs are no exception! It is important to develop a dental care regime for your puppy at an early age, which you can continue throughout their life. The gold standard of dental care is to brush your puppy’s teeth once a day (usually at bedtime) with a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Human formulas are not suitable as they are not designed to be swallowed. Dog toothpastes are available in a range of flavours and your dog will probably regard it as a treat! These kits and other dental care products including chews and dental biscuits are available from the veterinary practice. We will be happy to advise you on the most suitable products for your puppy.

8.Pet Healthcare Plan:
Cinque Ports Vets Pet Healthcare Plan enables you to pay monthly for your preventative veterinary treatments. We all want to use the best products available for our pets and at Cinque Ports Vets we want to make preventative healthcare easy and affordable to help give you and your pets the best care possible. You also receive an overall saving on your pets’ vaccinations, healthcheck, worming and flea treatment as well as many other discounts as a reward for joining our scheme. The plan is available for dogs, cats and rabbits from any age and the monthly payment plan will be dependent on the bodyweight of your pet. Please see Pet Healthcare Plan or contact us for more information. Please be aware this is not an insurance policy but a preventative healthcare plan to help spread the cost of routine treatments which insurance does not cover.

9.Insurance:
Pet insurance is an essential requirement to help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary fees. Accidents can happen especially with inquisitive puppies! These can be expensive but being insured means you can have peace of mind. There are a variety of policies available to suit you and your budget and it is always important to make sure you read the small print!

10.Training:
Socialisation needs to start as soon as possible. Arrange for your puppy to have several new experiences every day. Please see the socialisation chart in our Information sheets. Make sure you allow time for rest in between and keep them safe from infectious diseases. This means no mixing with unvaccinated dogs, no walking in areas where other dogs have been and if necessary carrying them to avoid contact with other dogs or soiled areas. Once your puppy is fully vaccinated an ideal way of socialising and training is to attend a puppy party run by some of our branches and also your local dog training class.  We will be happy to provide you with details of classes in your area and offer any advice you may need regarding behavioural or training problems.