The warmer weather that we experienced last week has triggered a huge surge in flea activity over the last few days.

Fleas reproduce faster in warm conditions. Historically flea levels should be very low at this time of the year as the weather should be cold and our houses used to also be cold.

Over the last 50 years or so, as more and more people have installed central heating and our houses are warm in the winter as well as the summer fleas have become more prevalent in the winter months. Even so, flea activity usually increases gradually as the temperatures rise in spring.

This year, temperatures have rocketed to the kind of levels normally seen in high summer and this has led to an explosion in the flea numbers. By early last week, we started to see the first couple of cases and by the end of the week, we were seeing over 20 cats and dogs per day with flea infestations.

Fleas cause a distressing itch and typically the fleas collect at the tail head and on the face or neck. They cause the pet to scratch and this can lead to self-trauma to the skin which can become inflamed and sore. Many animals are allergic to flea bites and can develop a generalised skin disease and secondary bacterial infections can result from the broken skin.

Sometimes it is possible to see the fleas but often they can be difficult to detect.

Flea control must include using something to kill the fleas on your pet and also any eggs that may have been laid in your house. Since each flea can lay up to 500 eggs, treating the adults alone is unlikely to control the problem.

We regularly see animals that have been treated for fleas with products that are not effective. Buying ineffective products is waste of money for the owner and prolongs the animal’s discomfort. Contact your vet for effective treatment to prevent fleas before they infest your pets and your home.