By Dr. Brandy Middleton Boykin
Fleas can be an overwhelming parasites during the warmer months. The reason flea infestation can occur so quickly during the warmer months is because the environment is ideal for the flea life cycle. Fleas love warm, humid, dark locations. The life cycle of a flea can be as short as 3 weeks or as long as 20 months. Because of this, it is very important to use flea prevention on your pet all year round. Also, ingestion of a flea or flea eggs will results in your pet having tapeworms. Fleas can also cause anemia and transmit cat scratch fever.
The flea life cycle is as follows: the adult flea feeds on the pet. Within 24 hours of feeding on the pet, the adult flea can produce 40-50 eggs per day. This can equal 1,500 eggs per month from one flea! The eggs then hatch into larvae, which then become pupa, and hatch into adults. The pupal stage is most resistant to environmental stress and chemicals. Ctenocephalides felis is the most commonly encountered flea of cats and dogs.
Lastly, because of the fact that fleas can multiply so quickly, and because there are several warm days during our winter season here in Mississippi, this is the reason that it is so important to use flea prevention all year round. There are several different types of flea prevention. You should consult with a veterinarian about which type is best for your pet..
Editor’s note: Dr. Brandy Middleton Boykin is a veterinarian with Brandy’s Animal Care Center in Eupora.