This autumn an increasing number of cases of fleas in indoor only cats have been turning up, which leaves questions as to how? Unfortunately, fleas can come indoors on human pant legs or shoes or come inside on other furred creatures, most commonly the family dog. Most owners keep flea protection on their dog, but if timing is right, fleas can make it inside on the dog before they are killed by a flea product. An unprotected indoor cat then makes a great host for that lucky flea. Fleas, aside from the natural thought of disgust, do carry health concerns* for pets and for people, and this fact makes it very important to protect your pets and restore order from these crazy hopping insects!

There are two important parts of dealing with flea control. Of course, ideally, prevention is key, and what we, as veterinarians, continually work towards. Keeping a topical flea medication on your pet is the crux of prevention, such as Advantage or Revolution, both of which are effective and very safe for long term use. It is important to have all cats and dogs in the household protected.

The first part of flea treatment is to get the fleas off of the pets as soon as possible and to make sure they all have a long term (every 4 week application) topical flea medication on board. The second is environmental cleanup, which can get a bit trickier. Depending on the extent of the problem, washing all bedding materials and vacuuming repeatedly are the first steps, and one may need to move towards a pest termination company. These are great questions for your veterinarian as to what steps are best taken in your home. Environmental cleanup is very important in accomplishing successful flea treatment.

* The health concerns associated with flea infestation include flea allergy dermatitis, feline infectious anemia, flea anemia, tapeworm infection, and cat scratch fever/bartonellosis.