Fleas & Ticks
Fleas are the most common external parasite of companion animals. Flea control has always been a challenge becasue the adult fleas cause the clinical signs, yet the majority of the flea population (eggs, larvae and pupae) are to be found off the pet in and around the house. THen ideal flea control program utilizes products and target the various stages of the flea life cycle.
Life Cycle of the Flea
Eggs are laid in the hair (coat) and are designed to fall off the host. They are resistan to insecticides, but susceptible to various insect groth regulators. Larvae develop in the host's environment and feed on adult flea feces (blood) that fall out of the hair (coat) of the pet. Larvae are susecptible to traditonal insecticieds, borates and insect growth regulators. Larvae ecentually spin cocoons (often withing carpet fibers) for pupation. Pupae are resistant to freezing, desiccation, and insecticides. Pupae can lie dormant for many months; they are stimulated to expupate as emergent adults by vibraton, warming and increased carbon dioxide. Normally, expupation occurs when a host is near and the new flea finds the pet within seconds of emergence. Emergent fleas are fairly mobile and can survive a few days without a host, if in a suitable environment. New fleas can survive only a short time if it is disloged from the host. New fleas experience very high mortality on healthy adult hosts. Most fleas do not survive 72 hours on an animal that is itching and able to groom itself.
Types of Flea Control at HVC:
3) Frontline (Plus and Top Spot)
Ticks are skin parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. Ticks like motion, warm temperatures from body heat, and the carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals, which is why they are attracted to such hosts as dogs, cats, rodents, cattle, small mammals, ect. The bite itself is not usually painful, but the parasite can transmit diseases and cause tick paralysis, which is why tick control is so important. (Removing the ticks leads to rapid improvement of the paralysis). It takes several hours for an attached tick to transmit disease, so owners can usually prevent disease transmission to their pets by following a regular schedule to look for and remove ticks.
Life Cycle of the Tick
Most types of ticks require three hosts during a two-year lifespan. Each tick stage requires a blood meal before it can reach the next stage. Hard ticks have four life stages: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. Larvae and nymphs must feed before they detach and molt. Adult female ticks can engorge, increasing their weight by more then 100 fold. After detaching, an adult female tick can lay approximately 3,000 eggs.
During the egg-laying stage, ticks lay eggs in secluded areas with dense vegetation. The eggs hatch within two weeks. Some species of ticks lay 100 eggs at a time, other lay 3,000 to 6,000 per batch. Once the eggs hatch, the ticks are in the larvel stage, during which time the larvae move into grass and search for their first blood meal. At this stage, they will attach themselves for several days to their first host, usually a bird or rodent, and then fall onto the ground. The nymph stage begins after the first blood meal is completed. Nymphs remain inactive during winter and start moving again in spring. Nymphs find a host, usually a rodent, pet or human. Nymphs are generally about the size of a freckle. After this blood meal, ticks fall off the host and move into the adult stage. Throughout the autumn, male and female adults find a host, which agian usually a rodent, pet, or human. The adult female feeds for 8 to 12 days. The female mates while still attached to her host. Both ticks fall off and the males die. The female remains inactive through the winter and in the spring lays her eggs in a secluded place. If adults cannot find a host animal in the fall, they can survive in leaf litter until spring.