Fleas; The Dark Side?

The worst of flea season is upon us. This time every year, I see a severe uptick in the number of flea cases, flea allergy cases, and skin infections. Although we have discussed fleas and other parasites before, we usually discuss them as pecky, not truly hazardous. This week I want to point out a few of the more dangerous elements of fleas and flea

At my practice, we tease, that fleas could survive anything including a meteor. Fleas are certainly resilient (to the point of frustration) and most commonly cause severe skin itching and infections as well as invading your house, yard and life. Less commonly known, is that although fleas do not feed on people they will bite people and can cause a severe, itchy rash. Fleas also carry some nasty diseases along with their irritating endurance. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs that your pet can ingest while licking themselves and acquire tapeworms, but did you know those same tapeworms can be dangerous for your smaller human family members?

Fleas can also carry some less commonly discussed diseases that are dangerous for people. Fleas can carry Bartonella henselae, the main cause of cat scratch fever. Although cats and fleas are needed to cause this disease, fleas are primary carrier. In certain regions, fleas can also carry the bubonic plague that our pets can contract and pass to us.

In the end, the message is that even the small, aggravating little bugs that make our pets and us scratch, can be hazardous to our families and protecting your pets from fleas is also helping preserve the health of your family.

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