Pests can take over in a flash

Max Wright from Animal Affair in Mooloolaba washes Alfie as part of his flea control program.
Max Wright from Animal Affair in Mooloolaba washes Alfie as part of his flea control program. Barry Leddicoat

AS HOT and humid summer weather takes hold on the Sunshine Coast, pooches are being driven mad by pint-sized pests.

Mooloolaba veterinarian Dr Michael Dunn said almost half of Sunshine Coast pet owners who came into the clinic were seeking flea treatments for their pets' coats.

"A lot of people also come in with pets for grooming, and about 70% of the pets have fleas," Dr Dunn said.

"The warmer weather definitely brings about more cases, as fleas tend to breed during spring and summer.

"They then start breeding in larger numbers.

"One flea might lay up to 1000 eggs a week.

"They would mostly stay in dry areas around the house to lay their eggs so, when they hatch, most eggs remain undisturbed and are then able to turn into adults."

While fleas are not only a problem for cats and dogs, fleas are also known to bite humans as well.

"Some fleas actually will bite people, since they normally bite humans if they're really hungry," Dr Dunn said.

"If you find a few on yourself that means you have quite a few in the house."

Although fleas are generally harmless when compared to ticks or other beasties, a flea outbreak can pose serious problems for a family and their pet.

"Fleas are just plain annoying, and they make animals very uncomfortable since their bites are very irritating, and animals can soon get really distressed and itchy," Dr Dunn said.

"Plus allowing them to breed, and start laying more eggs, they are harder to get rid of.

"You can get a serious flea plague in the house, with fleas growing into large numbers really quickly."

Dr Dunn recommends using a flea treatment at the first sign of fleas.

When shopping for flea medications, it is important to consider if the treatments are species-appropriate and to avoid mixing treatments.

"It should be one (treatment) for a cat on cats, and one for a dog on dogs.

"(Medications) that are used on dogs can be poisonous on cats.

"Make sure you buy the right product for the right species."

Topics:  fleas pets summer veterinarian

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