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Strange bedfellows: mites and fleas

Strange bedfellows: mites and fleas

Does the thought of fleas and mites give you a nasty, creepy-crawly feeling over your skin? Unfortunately, our pets can suffer these feelings of discomfort and more from actual fleas or mites if we leave them unprotected against these parasites!

Fleas

Whilst some pets seem minimally affected by fleas, they can be very irritating to other animals, causing red, itchy bumps that can become infected. Additionally, some pets can be allergic to the saliva of fleas, meaning that even a single flea bite can trigger a significant inflammatory skin reaction (known as flea allergy dermatitis).

Just a few fleas on your pet will produce a huge number of eggs, which will “sprinkle” around your pet’s environment. These eggs can lie dormant for months, hatching in warm conditions (which, indoors, is often all year round).

Mites

The most common skin mites of dogs and cats are sarcoptes and demodex, which can both cause “mange”. Sarcoptic mange tends to cause extreme itchiness, patchy hair loss, and crusty sores. Demodectic mange generally causes hair loss and skin scaling, but itchiness may occur if your pet’s skin becomes secondarily infected with bacteria or yeast.

Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious from other infected pets or local wildlife. Many normal pets have demodex mites in low numbers, and generally only young or immunocompromised pets develop symptoms.

Treatment and prevention

If your pet has any irritated skin lesions, it’s best to book an appointment with one of our vets, where we can perform in-consult skin tests and home treatment trials to check for fleas and mites, and rule out any secondary bacterial or yeast infections which may be worsening your pet’s discomfort.

As with many things in life, prevention is better than cure, so ask our friendly team for more personalised advice on the best safe and effective year-round flea and mite prevention products for your pet!

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