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FLEAS


...Only thinking at fleas, also in connection with a flea circus, causes true itching events in many humans. I ask myself: What then only cause human -, dog and, and/or cat fleas with their main hosts and/or secondary hosts? Itch, itch and again itch as well as the great danger of the disease transfers. They all cause damage. Flea-bites cause inflammations of the skin, e.g. the extremely painful Fleadermatitis. These parasites, "fleas", can serve as intermediate members for plague, typhus fever and tapeworms, also a flea-bite-allergy is often released.

In order to be able to attack these parasites effectively, we must first deal more near with the kinds, with the nature and the way of life of the fleas in general.

There is a whole set of different kinds of fleas, world-wide there are about 1.500. I would like to concentrate only on the following four kinds.

The people flea (pulex irritans) is approx.. 2 -4 mm large and colored dark-brown to black.
Main-host: Humans, dogs and cats..

The dog flea (ctenocephalidis canis) is approx.. 1,5 - 3.2 mm large and colored brown to red-brown.
Main-host: Dogs,
Secondary-host: Occasionally humans, intermediate member for tapeworms.

The cat flea (ctenocephalides) is approx.. 1,5 - 2.7 mm large and colored brown to red-brown.
Main-host: Cats,
Secondary-host: With preference humans. 80% of the flea population in Europe come from the cat flea.

The rat flea (xenopsylla oheopsis) is approx.. 1,4 - 2.0 mm large and colored brown to red-brown. In contrast to human -, dog and cat flea the rat fleas do not possess a prick comb at the head.
Main-host: Rats,
Secondary-host: Humans, intermediate member for plague and typhus fever. Occurrence in tropical countries, like Africa, Asia and America.

flea
How now does our dog come to fleas?
· from humans to the dog!
· from dog to dog!
· from cat to dog!
· from hedgehog to dog!
 
Most fleas come from the skin of dog and cat into the living range of humans. There they live in the proximity of their Secondary-host, humans, at the sleeping-place of dogs and cats, in soil cracks, in the carpet, on pad furniture, in joints and in the rubbish, also in the resting-places (beds) of the animal-owner. If they are not exterminated there reliably (lastingly), it leads to constant new infestation. Then the only help is: "merry scratching"! The flea is a temporary parasite, because it visits the main-host only for getting a blood meal. These nuisances are adapted to their way of life and to their main-hosts. Remarkable characteristic of the fleas are their strong jump legs, with which they can implement jumps up to 30 cm when they are in danger (flea circus). Their body is from hard, brownish chitin. Crushing it, for example with the fingernail, is nearly impossible. Fleas live approx.. 18 months. In this period the female animal puts down some hundred eggs, preferably in the quiescent places of the main-hosts. From the smooth, oval and grey-white eggs develop within 10 days hairless but legless larvae at ambient temperature of about 18°C. They nourish themselves from the excrement of the adult fleas and of the organic rubbish. Two weeks later the slip pupate themselves to flea larvae. The doll status lasts from one week to several months depending upon ambient temperature. The slip-finished flea waits possibly for months within its doll until a main-host is comming nearer with "large step". The vibrations of the soil (timber floor board) releases the slip of the flea from his cocoon. They usually cause several bites close to each other. Here one speaks of the "flea-ladder ".
 

PROPHYLACTIC COUNTER ACTIONS - FLEA FIGHT

My dogs carry flea /tick-collar.

I search the skin of my dogs for fleas regularly.

The resting-places of my dogs are likewise searched for fleas, flea eggs and flea-excrements.
HINT:
If you moisturize a fleecepaper and add the suspicion substance (flea excrement) onto it, then the fleecepaper discolours reddish with flea excrement (indigested blood).

The resting-places of the dogs, baskets, cushions and environment are kept extremely clean. Dust-vacuum-cleaning and thorough moisture-cleaning is daily obligation.

With flea infestation of the dog one should visit the veterinary surgeon. An exact kind- recognition is necessary. The physician will then use a preparation e.g. dripping solution. The veterinary surgeon should accomplish an analysis of the dog excrement and apply a corresponding vermifuge when there is a tapeworm infection.

With flea infestation of humans a thorough body cleaning and a disinfecting laundry of the clothes and textiles of the resting-places are to be absolutely accomplished. In addition flea fight means should be applied, as propellants or spray as being available in pharmacies.

With inflammations of the bites immediately visit a veterinarian!

Hanspeter Kobold
Ibiza, 2002