5 Ways Fleas Can Hurt Your Pets

flea control
Image courtesy of kitty.green66 via Flickr CC by-SA 2.0

Fleas are a common nuisance that can be found throughout the Manassas area. Fleas will live on wild animals and then fall into your yard where they may attach themselves to your pets or even come into your home on your pants legs. Your pet may also pick up fleas when they go to the vet, the dog park or to the groomer. Here are five ways fleas can hurt your pets.

Hot Spots

Dogs and cats can scratch themselves so much in one spot that they actually develop sores which can become infected. If you see these spots on your pet, you will need to take them to the vet in order for them to be checked and to know whether or not you need to put a cone on them to protect those spots from getting worse.

Anemia

Anemia is another possible complication. If the infestation is severe enough, your pet can become severely anemic and they can need treatment. If your pet is lethargic and if their gums are not as dark as usually, this may be signs of anemia. You can have your pet tested at the vet. If the anemia is severe enough, your pet may need a blood transfusion, if it is milder addressing the fleas and other steps may be taken to help get it under control.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are a parasite that lives in the intestinal track of your animal. They will get them when they ingest a flea that is infected. They may do this when they are bitten and trying to remove a flea or when they are grooming themselves. Tapeworms can cause your animal to lose weight. You may see them in your pet’s feces or if they are scooting across the ground. You may see segments in their bedding or in the fur around their anus.

Cat Scratch Fever

Cat scratch fever is actually an infection caused by bartonella henselae. It can infect both cats and dogs. Many cats may not have noticeable symptoms, but it can affect the heart and make it difficult for the cats to breath. Dogs can also develop serious symptoms including nausea, lack of appetite, chills and diarrhea. This can be spread to a person when scratched or bitten by an infected person.

Hair Loss

A severe case of fleas for an extended period of time can lead to hair loss in your pets. Once the fleas are treated, over time the hair should come back. You may want to have your animal checked for other conditions that can cause hair loss including mange or other complications.