In 1994, newly married (but before human kids) and with our four pets (three cats and a dog), I experienced the worst indoor bug incident of my entire life: near death by fleas. OK, maybe death wasn't so near as eventual, but still. The fleas were EVERYWHERE, and in legions (Lord of the Rings legions, y'all). Pinhead sized demons, they were, and out for a blood meal (x 184,277, give or take).
So, being superior beings, my husband and I annihilated them. It was horrible.
|It was HORRIBLE. I've heard this story before.|
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Let me back up for a bit.
HOW TO GET A FLEA INFESTATION IF YOU HAVE PETS
Reminder: This was 1994 (pets didn't have modern conveniences as they do today, nor did humans have as much information available about external parasites).
The cats were indoors only (apartment life) until the one day I got the bright idea to take Buster (my squishy brown tabby cat) out on a leash. To avoid dragging him down the sidewalk, I carried him into the yard and placed him on the grass. About 15 minutes later, he stood up, took a few steps toward a bush and sat down again. This went on for several days, until eventually, I surrendered and plopped down in the grass beside him. And though I can't remember what we talked about, I'm sure it was life-altering (Buster was my soul cat for 16 years).
|Did you know she had a soul cat for 16 years?|
Anyway, since we hadn't really done anything but sit in the front yard, Buster's occasional but lusty scratching never fazed me. Cats itch sometimes; no big deal (plus he was wearing a flea collar, so there was that).
Two months (and a pet-sitter; my husband and I both had jobs that required weekly out-of-town commutes) later...
JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN'T SEE FLEAS, DOESN'T MEAN THEY'RE NOT WREAKING HAVOC.
Back in those days, I'm not sure I even considered fleas laid eggs, much less that if left alone, in an environment where hiding is easy and food aplenty, they'd multiply in droves. But multiply in droves they did. The first clue was the pets' constant scratching. (Honestly, even in my realization that they had fleas, I didn't consider that the fleas might also be lurking elsewhere in our home. I thought fleas couldn't survive off their host. No Google back then, remember?) The second, was the visual of the bugs themselves, fleeing through the short hairs on the dog's face, for example. No biggie, though. We'd just replace all the flea collars and give everybody a dusting with flea powder. It was the only remedy we knew.
It wasn't until the third clue--waking up in the morning with (our human) feet and ankles covered in itchy red bumps--that we suspected we had a serious problem. There was nothing that could have prepared us, however, for what happened next: not only seeing the fleas (like coarse black pepper grounds), pinging off our socked feet as we sat on the couch, but discovering about a million* more of them teeming (like a malignant, alien entity) in the carpet underneath the catch-all basket beside our front door.
RAID!!!!! (Is what I screamed in panic; the ant killer under the kitchen sink was our only defense.)
|I need to throw up.|
ANT KILLER WILL NOT GET RID OF A FLEA INFESTATION.
So, the good news is that the teeming blob died. It was disgusting (and yet satisfying, in a sick way). I waited until it dried and then vacuumed it (placing the disposable vacuum bag outside in the dumpster). The bad news? The pets still had fleas and my husband and I were still getting bitten while sitting on the couch after work.
We'd received a hard education in fleas, one could say: learning about their lifecycle, prevention (which back then, for pets, was mostly abstaining from the outdoors), and control (hint: not a can of ant killer).
THANKFULLY, FLEA PREVENTION AND CONTROL TODAY IS EASIER THAN IT WAS IN 1994.
To make a longer story short, we ended up setting off multiple flea bombs in the house (after we'd safely loaded our fleabag pets into the car and taken them away for a couple days). And oh yeah, while we were away, all of them got dipped in a flea-killing bath (it makes me queasy to think about those poor, miserable animals to this day).
All that misery (and a squillion dead fleas), simply because ONE* flea hitched a ride into the house, ate lunch at the fur cafe, and replicated into an army (under the shelter of an unassuming basket).
* Though it takes two fleas to "tango," a mated female could get onto one's home and start the cycle all by herself. More likely, though, is that one's pet brings more than one flea into the home (and the majority go undetected under the fur). Flea populations are distributed with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults. That means that in a population of (let's say) 40 adult fleas, there will also be 80 pupae (cocoons), 280 larvae, and 400 eggs hiding in the home (on/in nearly every conceivable surface). GROSS!
Five seconds later...
Y'all, I cannot believe how far science has come since 1994! Can you imagine still living with our pets (and fleas and ticks) that way?! UGH! NO!
GIVE A DOG ONE BRAVECTO® (Fluralaner) CHEW AND HE'S PROTECTED FROM FLEAS AND TICKS FOR UP TO 12 WEEKS*.
* BRAVECTO kills fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks.
As I mentioned in my previous parasite (mostly tick)-centered post (hint: the tick was on ME), I'd never heard of BRAVECTO until a couple months ago. I already used a monthly (when I remembered to reapply it on time) flea/tick topical preventative on the dogs, so heaven to Buster (may his flea-free self RIP), was I excited to learn there was another, much easier way! (They can eat the preventative and it lasts up to three times as long as before. Only four doses cover the whole year! And on top of that, BRAVECTO sends email and text messages--in addition to providing the calendar stickers that I forget to look at--to make sure I don't miss the next dose.)
I will NEVER (I know I'm not supposed to use that word lightly, but I mean it) have another flea-infested house, or pet! And ticks? Kill them all! Yay!
BRAVECTO is FDA approved and available only from a veterinarian or clinic. Ask your dog's veterinarian about it today. (Locate a veterinarian or clinic that carries BRAVECTO.)
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