Flea infestation possible? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 11-05-2010, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I have read a bunch of the other flea threads on here but haven't found the answer I'm looking for.

My dog has had fleas for the past month and a half maybe. We've done several flea baths and used Zodiak. I took her to the vet today because she's still scratching and I haven't seen any fleas recently. The vet found one and gave her a pill that killed all the fleas on her within 1/2 hour, Advantix instead of Zodiak (I can't use that for another 3 weeks) and suggested using KnockOut spray all over the house.

I'm nervous about using a spray because I have a 12 month old who gets into everything and crawls everywhere. They said we could spray it on the couch, mattress, sheets...everything.

I read about using diatomaceous earth, and I think I'd prefer using that, but I guess my real question is: can I really have a flea infestation in the house when I've only ever seen a few fleas on the dog at any given time, and I've never seen any evidence anywhere in the house of fleas? (We have hard wood floors, 1 area rug and one bedroom with carpet) I'm pretty sure that the dog is picking them up from outside, but it is getting much colder outside, and from what I've read, they don't do well in the cold. I'm thinking it would not be worth using chemicals or diatomaceous earth outside?

I'm planning on using the Advantix for at least the next 3-4 months. Is it necessary to do any more then that?

Thanks so much! I'm really stressing out about this
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#2 of 5 Old 11-05-2010, 02:54 PM
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Yep, you can have an "infestation" while only seeing a few visible fleas. It is thought that when fleas infest a house the visible adult fleas only make up 5% of the flea population. The rest are eggs, larvae, and pupae. So for every 5 adult fleas that might be on your pet there might be almost 500 more in the house in various stages of development! And since each adult flea can lay more than 500 eggs in its lifetime... you can see how easy it is for thing to get out of hand fast.

I have taken care of flea problems without spraying the entire house. Yuck! I used a good topical flea treatment (Revolution) year round and vacuumed religiously for a month.

It does stink to have an infestation. I was dealing with one three months ago: apparently the cat I was taking care of had fleas for months (I thought the owners treated the cat, but they hadn't and he lived with me for three months), and then my pup came home with fleas from the shelter, too. We treated both animals with Revolution, vacuumed all carpet areas every day, and vacuumed off whatever furniture the animals had been on daily (the cat likes my enclosed sun porch furniture).

Revolution and the like takes care of the active fleas, and also makes their eggs sterile. But then, of course, you have flea eggs, larvae, and pupae still in the house from before you treated, and you just can't get them all with the vacuum or chemicals. It can take up to 8 months for a flea to make the transformation from egg to breeding adult. And the pupae can stay dormant for a LONG time in your carpet and furniture. Chemical insect treatments will not kill them, so all that spraying your vet recommends will be useless.

The pupae are triggered out of their dormancy by heat and vibration (like a pet laying down on the carpet, or a vacuum cleaner running). So unless you continue to treat your pet for fleas through the winter you may still get fresh fleas on your pet from inside the house that were laid before you treat with Revolution, Frontline, or whatever. And of course they can still pick them up from outside.

I have heard of people having good results with DE, but honestly for me that is too much work, and I really prefer to just do a topical flea/tick/heartworm/earmite treatment year round.

If your dog has had fleas it might be wise to do a round of deworming for tapeworms. They are spread by fleas. My sister's dog was just diagnosed with tapeworms from fleas. Yuck!
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#3 of 5 Old 11-05-2010, 04:34 PM
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I noticed a few fleas on my puppy a week or so after we got him home. I did buy some DE but didn't need to use it on him. As surprising at it may sound, a flower essence combo for getting rid of pests (fleas, ticks, parasites) in animals saw them off completely within a few days. I still put some in his water as preventative.

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#4 of 5 Old 11-06-2010, 11:56 AM
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We have been battling fleas for 2 months. We sprayed the house and it did nothing. Frontline hasn't worked for us, so we are going to switch to another brand.

We don't have any carpet in our house at all. We pulled the carpet out of the upstairs bedrooms when we first found the fleas (it was gross anyway). We have tried borax (which I know some moms here have said is bad for the animals, but I have heard contrary from everyone else including my vet). We have vacuumed the whole house, the hardwood floors, the couch, everything. It has been hell. Right now, I am just kinda waiting it out. We are treating the dogs and cat and vacuuming, hoping that the rest of the damn things will hatch and die.

Good luck. I think lots of our fleas are coming in from outside too, but they will lay eggs in the house. I know they are in our house, even though I have only seen 2 fleas on the cat in the last few days.
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#5 of 5 Old 11-06-2010, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks ladies So it sounds like if I just vacuum every day, and vacuum the couch and mattress maybe, and make sure to continue with monthly flea treatments for the dog, that eventually (hopefully!) things will settle down?

I think we'll just go that route. Everything else seems to be a lot of work. I guess we'll look into that if things aren't better in a few months.
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