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Fleas, Ticks & Mites

Fleas, Ticks & Mites

Fleas, Ticks and Mites are part of a group of parasites called ectoparasites. Prevention is best achieved by monthly use of anti-parasitic products, many of which are included if you are a member of the Adelaide Pet Care Plan.
It is important to keep your pet treated for fleas and ticks on a regular basis. Call us now on 023 8040 6215 for advice or an appointment.
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Fleas are the single most common cause of skin disease in dogs and cats and can also transmit tapeworms. Fortunately they should be a rare visitor to your house with regular use of modern treatments. They also commonly affect rabbits.

Please ask us for advice on effective and safe flea control products for your pet. Most of these are included if you are a member of our Adelaide Pet Care Plan.

  • How does my pet catch fleas?

    Dogs and cats get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. The flea's strong back legs enable it to jump from host to host or from the environment onto the host. The flea bites cause itching, but for a sensitive or flea-allergic animal, this itching can be quite severe and lead to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Some pets, allergic to the flea's saliva, will itch all over from the bite of even a single flea! These small dark brown insects breed when the environment is warm. They are therefore just as happy to breed in a warm house in winter as they are in the summer.
  • How Do You Know If Your Pet Has Fleas?

    Generally, fleas will be hard to see on your pets skin unless there are lots of them. Dark copper coloured and about the size of the head of a pin, fleas dislike light so looking for them within furry areas and on the pet's belly and inner thighs will provide your best chances of spotting them. "Flea dirt" looks like dark specks of coal dust scattered on the skin surface and may be easier to find than the fleas. In some animals, especially those that are itching and grooming lots, even this will be impossible to find as your pet will be removing it by licking and scratching. If you see flea dirt, which is actually flea faeces and is composed of digested blood, pick some off the pet and place it on a wet paper towel. If after a few minutes the tiny specks spread out like a small blood stain it's definitely flea dirt and your pet has fleas.
  • The Flea Life Cycle

    There are several stages to the flea life cycle: egg, larva, pupa or cocoon, and adult. The adult female flea typically lives for several weeks on the pet. During this time period she may lay several hundred eggs which fall off of the pet into the bedding, carpet, and wherever else the animal spends time. These eggs develop where they have landed and as they are about 1/12 the size of the adult, they can develop in small cracks in the floor and between crevices in carpeting. The egg then hatches into larvae which feed on organic matter, skin scales, and even the blood-rich adult flea faeces. The larvae form a cocoon and pupate, waiting for the right time to hatch into an adult. Then, when they detect heat, vibrations and exhaled carbon dioxide, they emerge from their cocoons as adult fleas ready to jump onto a nearby host. Under optimal conditions, the flea can complete its entire life cycle in just fourteen days.
    Knowing this life cycle allows us to understand why it may take months to eliminate an existing flea problem from your pets as eggs in your home may continue to hatch for some time, and the newly-hatched fleas will keep appearing on your cat or dog. Prevention by regular use of a modern flea product is therefore much better than cure.
  • Flea Control

    There are a number of safe and effective prescription products available containing modern insecticides which are used both as a treatment and prevention. Some also contain a wormer and/or tick treatment to give your pet convenient and economic all-in-one parasite protection. These products are most effective when applied monthly.
    There are many non-prescription products available for flea treatment from pet shops and supermarkets. Some of these products however, may be less effective than the prescription products as many fleas are resistant to the active ingredients. These non-prescription flea products include flea shampoos, powders, sprays, mousses, dips, collars and spot-on products. Care must be taken not to treat cats with dog flea products as these can be very toxic to cats.
    With any flea treatment it is necessary to treat all of the animals in the home in order to achieve complete success.
  • The Environment

    If you find yourself with a flea infestation, you may find it helpful to treat the indoor environment as well. It is important to wash all bedding in soapy, hot water. All of the carpeting should be vacuumed thoroughly and the vacuum bag thrown away. This will still leave a good percentage of live fleas, so some sort of chemical treatment may be necessary in all of the rooms to which your pet has access.
    Sprays are available which contain both a fast-acting adulticide which kills any flea it comes into contact with and a long-lasting insect growth regulator, which controls the immature flea life–cycle stages and protects the home for up to 12 months.
    Please ask for advice on preventing or treating fleas. With the range of modern products available today, prevention of fleas is usually easy to achieve and much better than trying to treat an outbreak.


Ticks are blood sucking parasites that can cause local infections and transmit serious diseases including Lyme Disease to your pet and to yourself.

Please ask us for advice on effective and safe tick control products for your pet. Most of these are included if you are a member of our Adelaide Pet Care Plan.

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Ear Mites

Ear mites (Otodectes/Psoroptes) live in the ear canal of dogs, cats and rabbits and feed on ear debris. They cause severe irritation of the ear and secondary bacterial infection is common. They are very contagious so easily spread from pet to pet.

Treatment or prevention is generally straight forward. Please contact us for advice.

Fox Mange (Sarcoptes)

Sarcoptic mange is a relatively common skin disease of dogs and other species, in the UK.. It can affect animals of all ages and can also transfer to humans.

Transmission of the disease is by contact with other infected pets and foxes.

Infection causes intense itching and skin disease. Diagnosis can be difficult but a blood test for antibodies can be helpful. Sometimes trial treatments are required.

Harvest Mites (Trombicula Autumnalis)

Harvest mites are active from July to October. They are found in grass and other foliage and hop on to bite any animal or human that passes. Some animals are particularly sensitive to the bites and become extremely itchy, especially on the ears and paws. You may be able to see the mites on your cat or dog if you look closely. They are tiny and bright orange and are often found in small clusters between the toes and in the folds of the ears.

For advice preventing or treating fleas

023 8040 6215

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