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EXPERTS WARN PET OWNERS ABOUT RISK OF FLEA INFESTATIONS AS CENTRAL HEATING IS TURNED ON

Published by in Dog Health ·
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As the central\nheating dial is turned up across the UK, experts are warning pet owners about\nthe increased risk of fleas in warm households.

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New research,\ncarried out by Bayer Animal Health for its ‘Home Invaders’ campaign, has shown\nthat a third of pet owners are unaware that switching on the heating in the\nautumn and winter months can lead to an increase in flea infestations.

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Parasitologist\nIan Wright from the European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites\n(ESCCAP) UK and Ireland says: “As long as the humidity remains over 75 per\ncent and temperatures don't exceed 30°C then for fleas, the warmer the\nbetter. Fleas can complete their life cycle in less than 3 weeks at 29 °C so\nthe warmer the house is, the faster they will reproduce up to that point. It\nshould also be said, that fleas can still breed at 17 °C, just at a slower\nrate.”

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According to the\nresearch, more than a third of pet owners turn up their heating in the autumn\nand winter months to between 21°C and 25°C, providing an optimum temperature\nfor fleas to breed in. The study also revealed that one in 10 pet owners have\nnoticed fleas on their pet and in the house during autumn and winter months,\nindicating they are not seeking preventative treatment at this key time of\nyear.

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It is estimated\nthat 95 per cent of the flea population in a home can be found within carpets\nand soft furnishings, which is perhaps no surprise when almost half of owners\nadmit sharing a bed with their pet and three quarters allow their cats to sleep\non their sofa.

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Furthermore, 27\nper cent of pet owners seek parasite treatment advice online before going to\ntheir vet and 10 per cent only ever treat their pets when they see fleas.\nWorryingly, half of pet owners were completely unaware their pet had fleas\nuntil they were shown by a vet. Pet owners are reminded that while the web is a\nuseful resource for gaining background information it should in no\ncircumstances replace the role of a vet.

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Paul Manktelow,\nVeterinary Surgeon, founder of Vital Pet Health and co-presenter of the Home\nInvaders documentary, says:  “There is a high probability your dog or cat\nwill have had fleas or worms at some point in their life but depending on the\ndegree of the infestation you may not have realised how many live hidden away\nin your home. It is important to speak to your vet about receiving the right\npreventative treatment to stop these infestations.”

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Richard Wall,\nProfessor of Zoology at Bristol University, says: “Only 1-5 per cent of the\nflea population is actually represented by the adults on the pet and is really\njust the tip of the iceberg. The remaining 95 per cent is hidden in the\nenvironment. They may be found in a wide variety of locations within the\ndomestic environment, including wooden flooring and car upholstery.”
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‘Home Invaders’\nis a national campaign which is shining a light on the fleas and intestinal\nworms that live on our pets and in our homes, and is part of Bayer Animal\nHealth’s wider ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ parasite protection initiative. You\ncan help spread the word and find out if your pet and family could be at risk,\nby following the conversation at www.facebook.com/jungleforpets\nor by following ‘JungleForPets’ on Twitter. You can also watch the Home\nInvaders documentary at www.itsajungle.co.uk 



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