Fleas in Cheltenham – how to avoid an infestation!



Late summer is flea season, and with the hot spell of weather we enjoyed in July the little blighters are out in force! I always remember treating a cat with dermatitis that belonged to an elderly lady and trying to explain that her cat’s skin condition was caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites. The elderly owner was deeply offended by my suggestion that her cat had fleas and kept coming up with alternative suggestions for her cat’s skin problem; “perhaps it was the grass?” she said or “possibly a reaction to paint fumes?”. When I showed her a flea I had combed out of her cat’s fur she claimed it must have picked it up at the vet clinic! The reality is pet’s will invariably pick up fleas, especially cats if they spend much time outdoors. Fleas love soil and sand and other cats wandering through the garden or other native wildlife will drop them off and poor little Felix or Whiskers will pick them up when they wander outside. The real disaster is when they get into the house and start laying eggs in the carpet, bedding or even cracks in the floor boards, one flea can lay hundreds or eggs and then the real problems start!

The good news is prevention is easy and killing them before they can get into the house is the key. There are plenty of easy to apply and effective flea treatments available for pets and my advice is always that prevention is easier than treating an infestation. Monthly treatments of a good quality ‘topical’ treatment prevent a flea burden from developing. In cats there is a very effective 6 monthly injection which is safe and cost effective and if the fleas are really bad or your pet very sensitive to bites there is an ultra quick acting monthly tablet that kills the blood suckers in minutes. If you are unlucky enough to get them in the house then use a good quality flea bomb or house spray but remember you will never kill all of the flea life stages in one go, it’ll take 6 weeks of diligent cleaning and pet treatment to get rid of all those nasty little parasites! Ask your vet for advice on which treatment is most suitable for your pet.