You are sharing:

Flea Diseases in Dogs & Cats

Unfortunately, fleas exist almost everywhere. It’s not surprising that you and your dog might run into fleas at dog parks or on the trail. But your dog can easily pick up a flea while taking a “break” in your backyard or walking alongside a neighborhood sidewalk.

Seeing a flea on your clean, well-cared for cat can be a horrifying experience. In addition to the major “ick” factor fleas bring, they can bite your cat, causing pain and leading to health issues.

Keep in mind that you might not actually see fleas on your cat because they’re hiding deep in the fur. What’s more, cats may swallow fleas through everyday grooming. So unless your cat is heavily infested with fleas, you may see little or no evidence of the small fleas that can cause these potentially big problems.

1. Flea allergy dermatitis

Many dogs & cats suffer from flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), an allergic condition caused by flea bites. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons pet owners take their dogs to the veterinarian.

2. Tapeworms

While chewing at irritated skin from flea bites or even while licking a leg to remove dirt, dogs can swallow fleas. Similarly cats will ingest fleas while grooming. If those ingested fleas happen to be infected with tapeworms, there is a good chance your dog or cat will become infected.

3. Bartonellosis

While thought to be a concern only for cats, there’s increasing evidence that dogs too can be infected with a bacteria called bartonella. While the source of infection is not as clear cut as in the cat, infection with the bartonella bacteria in dogs has been linked to fleas.

4. Anemia

Thinking about just one flea being on your pet is terrible, let alone thinking about hundreds. But that’s just what happens if your pet ever has the unlucky experience of being infested with fleas. If a large number of fleas bite and take blood meals (yes, fleas drink your pet’s blood), your pet can develop anemia. This is a serious medical condition, especially in puppies & kittens, that must be promptly addressed through veterinary care. Symptoms include weakness, lethargy, rapid breathing and, potentially, death if the fleas are not killed. With severe infestations, we suggest treating the home and surrounding outdoor areas, as well as treating the pet for fleas.

How to help prevent fleas on dogs

Fleas can be just about anywhere, making it practically impossible to avoid them. Therefore, it is important to routinely treat your pet with an effective flea preventive.

Identify Yourself

When you share this information, your friends will want to know who it is coming from. Please enter your name and email address in the boxes below.