Video: A Flea Short
In this video, Lara talks about fleas and their life cycle.
Fleas are small external parasites that are common in San Diego County. Cats may or may not show signs of itchiness when they have fleas and if there is a light infestation, they can be difficult to detect.
We disagree with some experts who say that the animal's environment needs to be treated with things like sprays and foggers in order to rid it of fleas.
A flea’s lifespan is about three months and they can't reproduce effectively from feeding on humans. We have found that it is possible to get rid of all fleas in a house or apartment by treating all the cats and dogs for four months with something that effectively kills all adult fleas. When this is done, all of the fleas in the environment will either die because they eventually jump onto a treated host or they will die from "old age". We usually recommend treating cats with Vectra® or Comfortis®.
After treating consistently for four months, any pet who doesn't go outside may not need to be treated again. Each pet who does go outside should remain on treatment throughout the year.
Cats get tapeworms from (grooming themselves and then) ingesting fleas. (They can also get tapeworms from eating rodents.) These are small worms that look like a piece of rice. When tapeworms dry, they look like sesame seeds. Tapeworms are usually harmless in Southern California*, but most people choose to treat for them. The medication we use is a prescription drug. In order to dispense it, we need to have examined the cat within the previous year. As long as this is the case, if you see tapeworm segments, you can call us and we can get a prescription ready for you.
*In other parts of the country there are tapeworms that can cause serious disease to cats and humans