Fleas in Oregon: Not if Your Pet will get Them but When?
Fleas and dermatitis related to fleas are some of the most common problems we see here at Aloha Animal Medical Center (AAMC). Fleas as they develop form a cocoon, or what we call a pupa, that is virtually indestructible in the indoor and outdoor environment. These pupa lie dormant until they sense a source of food (warm blooded animal) nearby, at which point they hatch as an adult flea, jump onto the animal and start to feed (suck blood). Within 24 hours they start to lay up to 50 eggs a day for their entire lifespan, which is ~ 2 weeks. The flea does not leave the animal, but the eggs it lays fall off the animal like salt out of a salt shaker. This is how your pet can pick up a single flea outside and bring it into your house and infest it with flea eggs that will hatch into adult fleas within 2 weeks.
There are really only 2 ways to treat fleas. The first is to wait until your house is infested and then treat. The second is to place any pets that go outside on some form of flea preventative or treatment to prevent the fleas from getting into your home in the first place. Most experts agree that by the time most people notice they’ve got a flea problem there are in the neighborhood of 5000 various stages of fleas in the house. Therefore, the latter is probably a better way to proceed.
In Oregon as a practicing veterinarian, I’ve discovered that it’s not about whether your pet will eventually pick up a flea but when. So don’t let you house become infested making you and your pets miserable. Come talk to us about the various options available and let us help you pick out what will work best for you and your pets.
-Dr. Erik Thompson