Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Veterinary practices are gearing up for a busy summer as flea infestations continue to surge due to the UK’s wetter summers and milder winters.

Scientists have revealed the skin crawling fact that 95 per cent of the flea population exists in immature stages in the surrounding environment of pets, which could include carpets and furnishings, waiting for the presence of a host to feed on, sensing movement, warmth and even the breath of a passing host.

Resilient fleas inside pupae can remain in this dormant state in the home for a number of months under the right conditions, even surviving vacuuming.

Some other fantastic flea facts include:

A single flea will lay up to 50 eggs per day and about 500 during it’s lifespan.

One flea can bite up to 400 times per day potentially feeding up to 15 times it’s own body weight, which is why animals with a severe infestation can become anaemic.

Adult fleas are able to survive up to 62 days without a blood meal, whereas humans will not last much more than three days without water and up to two months without food.

Fleas are able to jump an impressive 340mm, 160 times their own length at speeds reaching 4.3 miles per hour and subjecting the flea to forces in excess of 100Gs.

British long jumper Greg Rutherford recorded a gold medal winning jump of 8.31 metres at the London Olympics, just four times his own length, while top astronauts can withstand a gravitational force of only 5Gs before passing out.

Famed primarily for their itchy bites fleas can cause more significant damage, including the transmission of diseases, some of which can affect humans.

Pets and owners alike can suffer severe allergic reactions to flea saliva resulting in dermatitis that can be a real source of misery.

Frontline Combo which you can only obtain from your vet is one of the best flea treatments but now we have a new treatment for fleas on dogs called Bravecto which lasts three months and also kills ticks.