Fleas And Ticks

Fleas

  • About 1,600 species of fleas have been identified throughout the world. About 95% of those species live on mammals and 50% on birds.
  • Only one flea species, the cat flea, accounts for almost all the fleas found on cats and dogs in the US.
  • Fleas account for more then half of all dermatological conditions requiring veterinary assistance and even a single fleabite to a hypersensitive animal or person may cause intense itching and irritation.
  • Fleas that have fed on rodents may transmit diseases, including plague and murine typhus. Other flea-related health problems include flea allergy dermatitis, anemia, rickettsiosis, tapeworms and cat scratch disease.
  • Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to 7 inches and horizontally 13 inches.
  • Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but may live from 2 months to 1 year with out feeding.
  • The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily.
  • While adult fleas all suck blood from a cat or dog or other mammal, their larvae live and feed on organic debris in the host animal's environment. The most likely place to find flea larvae is in infested pet bedding.
  • Americans spend about $9 billion a year controlling fleas, one of the biggest expenses for pet owners. 

Ticks

  • Ticks are bloodsucking external parasites that feed on humans, wild and domestic mammals, livestock, birds, reptiles and other animals.
  • The female ixodid tick increases her weight an astounding 100 times her original size after she mates.
  • There are more than 850 tick species, about 100 of which are capable of transmitting diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Adult ticks live for several years and in the absence of a blood meal can survive several years after starvation.
  • Ticks are not insects, they are arachnids like spiders, chiggers and mites. They have eight legs as an adult and two body segments, whereas insects have six legs as an adult and three body segments.
  • Tickborne parasitic diseases in animals include babesiosis, theileriosis and anaplasmosis.
  • Although ticks can not run, hop, fly or move quickly, they are very good climbers.
  • Ticks are usually found outdoors in grassy or forested areas from ground level to three feet above the ground.
  • Ticks require a habitat with a very high humidity (greater than 80%) so they are seldom found living indoors.

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