Original Article By Kate Hughes from PetMD

Most pet owners have some experience dealing with fleas. After all, fleas are indiscriminate parasites, happy enough to feed off of dogs and cats, ferrets and rabbits, and, of course, humans, when the need arises. While a lot people have encountered these nasty little parasites, they know very little about them. However, despite being quite troublesome for pet owners and their furry friends, fleas are actually interesting creatures. So read on to learn more about them. As you go, it’s natural to feel a little itchy—but try not to scratch!

1. Fleas have a flexible life cycle. A flea’s life cycle can be broken down into four parts: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult lays eggs on a host, which then roll off into the environment. When these eggs hatch into larvae, the larvae hunker down in the environment, feed, and go through several molts until they spin a cocoon and become pupae. Eventually, from the pupae emerge adult fleas, which then seek out an animal host for a blood meal. Under ideal conditions, this entire process takes about 21 days. However, fleas have a very flexible life cycle, and will wait until conditions are optimal to move from one stage to another. “The more warm and the more moist it is, the faster the life cycle will go,” says Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a staff doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center, who specializes in small animal internal medicine and oncology. “If it’s cooler and dryer, the process slows down until the temperature goes up.”

2. While neat, this life cycle makes fleas insanely hard to eradicate. Fleas are hardy creatures. Dr. Daniel Morris, a professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, says that most of the flea medications on the market will kill adult fleas, but it’s much more difficult to be rid of eggs and especially pupae. “Some products have a compound that keeps eggs from hatching, but don’t kill the pupae,” he says. This means that even if you wipe out all of the adult fleas in an infestation, the next generation might just be waiting to take up the reins.

3. During a flea infestation, treating your pet isn’t enough. You have to treat the environment too—that’s where the eggs and pupae are hiding. “I always tell my clients that killing the fleas on their pets isn’t enough. There are eggs and pupae in the carpet, in between the floor boards, and even in your car, if you have a habit of taking your dog on rides,” Morris says. Hohenhaus adds that if you vacuum during a flea infestation, you should immediately throw that vacuum bag out because any eggs and pupae you vacuum up may still be viable. “You also want to wash everything—bedding, clothes, etc.—in hot water,” she says. In the case of a particularly bad infestation, both Morris and Hohenhaus recommend enlisting the services of an exterminator.

4. Fleas can go a long time without eating. Research shows that pupae can stay in their cocoons for up to a year. Once the adults emerge, they try to find a blood meal immediately but, if necessary, can survive for one to two weeks without eating. However, it is only after they eat that they can lay eggs. They’re also indiscriminate feeders. “If you go away for a weekend and don’t realize there are fleas in your house, the moment you walk on the carpet in your living room, you’ve got flea bites up to your knees,” Hohenhaus says. “This is because the fleas are starving and they’re looking for a blood meal.”

5. A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Typically, it’s more like 20 eggs, but that means that a single prolific female flea can cause a major infestation in less than two months. “If you start with one female flea at maximum egg production, and assuming that half of the eggs are breeding females, in just 60 days you could have more than 20,000 fleas on your hands,” Morris explains. “This is how a serious infestation can happen before you even realize there is an issue.”

6. Fleas have Olympic-caliber jumping skills. It’s generally recognized that fleas are some of the best jumpers in the world, able to jump more than 150 times their body length. This ability is a necessity for the fleas’ life cycles. “If fleas are unable to jump onto an animal, they’re not going to be able to feed and then they can’t reproduce,” Hohenhaus says.

7. Indoor-only pets are not safe from flea infestations. Fleas, in all of their stages, are easy to transport from place to place. This means that even if your animals never go outside, they are still susceptible to fleas. That said, some animals are more at risk than others. An indoor cat who lives in a high-rise apartment in a major city is less likely to pick up fleas than an indoor cat who lives in a house in the woods. Also, some parts of the country—think warm and moist again—are more infested with fleas than others.

8. Your pets can develop an allergy to flea bites. According to Morris, there are two types of itching associated with fleas. The first is mild itching associated with the creepy crawly feeling of a bug on your skin. The second is a much more intense itch, which occurs when an animal develops an allergy to the proteins in a flea’s saliva. “Once an animal is allergic, the itch becomes impossible to ignore,” he says. “It’s itchy times 100.” If animals with an allergy are left untreated, the bites can become infected and require extensive veterinary care.

9. Fleas can transmit diseases that impact humans. Fleas are carriers of all sorts of bacteria, including bacteria that can cause disease in people. One of the more prominent examples is Bartonella henselae, which is the bacteria responsible for cat scratch disease.

10. Fleas can also transmit parasites. Fleas can also carry parasites, which they then transmit to their hosts. Tapeworms are most commonly transmitted by fleas. “When dogs and cats groom fleas off their bodies, they often swallow them,” Morris says. “If the flea is carrying tapeworms, they’ll then be released into the dog or cat’s intestinal tract.”

11. Flea infestations can make animals very sick. In severe infestations, fleas can consume so much of a host’s blood that the host becomes very ill. Some animals develop iron deficiency anemia, and smaller animals could even require blood transfusions. “This mostly occurs in young puppies and kittens,” Hohenhaus says. “Fleas are very efficient and effective parasites.”

Laurelwood Animal Hospital,located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.

If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: [email protected]

Hyperthyroidism in Cats - Laurelwood Animal Hospital

Hyperthyroidism is the most common hormonal abnormality in cats, causing the thyroid gland to become overactive and produce excess amounts of thyroid hormone. Fortunately, a more recent discovery has made the way to treat the disease easier for veterinarians, while also making the costs of treatment less expensive on the cat owner.

Traditional treatments included radioactive iodine treatment to inactivate the tumor cells that cause excess secretion of thyroid hormone, or medication to suppress hormone secretion. Several years ago, it was found that a limited iodine diet was just as effective as the traditional methods of treating hyperthyroidism in cats. The solution was revolutionary and substantially reduced the costs of treating this condition.

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Cancer in Cats: Types, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about cancer in cats.
By Sandy Eckstein
WebMD Pet Health Feature

Although cancer isn’t as common in cats as it is in dogs, it still affects a number of our feline friends. And because cats have a tendency to mask illnesses, it can be harder to detect. This often leads to later diagnoses and more difficult and costly treatments. So we talked to Dave Ruslander, a veterinary oncologist and past president of the Veterinary Cancer Society, about feline cancers and the latest treatments for cats diagnosed with the disease.

Q: How common is cancer in cats? What are some of the more common cancers found in cats?

A: Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs. It’s probably half the rate that we see in dogs. But when we see cancer in cats, it tends to be a more aggressive form.

One of the most common cancers we see in cats is lymphoma, which is associated with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Even though there’s a vaccine for feline leukemia now, we still see a number of cats that have been exposed to it, and exposure greatly increases a cat’s chance of developing feline lymphoma.

We also see oral squamous carcinoma, similar to what people get. We see a tumor called fibrosarcoma, or soft tissue sarcoma, which is a tumor developing in muscle or in the connective tissue of the body. That’s the one associated with injections and vaccinations, which some people call injection-site sarcoma.

We see other kinds of tumors as well, but they are much less common — lung tumors, brain tumors, nasal tumors, liver tumors. We don’t see as many mammary tumors these days because so many people have their cats spayed now. So all of those are just a smattering here and there.

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By , Guide (original link:


Many cat lovers are now savvy that indoor cats are safer cats, while others still think that cats deserve freedom to run in the great outdoors. When humans domesticated cats, we took on the responsibility for their health and welfare. Part of that responsibility is to keep cats safe and in good health. For those holdouts for letting cats roam free, consider these top reasons to keep cats indoors.

Several years ago, we almost lost our Bubba, who was an indoor-outdoor cat at the time. Why? Because we had no litter boxes in the house, and therefore, could not monitor his painful attempts to urinate. Today, that would be a red flag warning of a potential UTI or urinary tract blockage.

By the same token, observing a cat’s painful attempts to poop, or finding blood and/or mucous in the feces in the fact is a red flag for constipation, bowel blockage, or mega-colon.

An Indoor Cat Is Relatively Safe from Many Diseases

Cats allowed free access to the outdoors invariably come into contact with other cats. Even casual contact can transmit parasites and more serious diseases:

Mice your cat may eat or bring home can also cause a host of other dangerous diseases.Rarely mentioned, but equally serious, is the possibility of skin cancer from over-exposure to the sun. White and other light-colored cats can develop squamous cell carcinoma, a serious, painful disease.

Indoor Cats Do Not Get Hit by Cars

According to one source, more cats are killed by cars annually than are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters. Even the most careful driver cannot avoid hitting a cat that runs across the street in front of a car. Even so-called “safe” country areas are no guarantee for cats. Country cats are not as car-savvy as their city brethren, and all it takes is one misjudgement of distance or speed.

Indoor Cats Are Safe From Predators and Dog Packs

Outdoor cats are below predators in the food chain, and they are sitting ducks for owls, raptors, coyotes, and native big cats. Dogs running in packs will consider a cat fair game; even one large dog can easily overpower and kill a cat. Remember that some dogs are also bred to attack; they are not really to blame when their instinct takes over. Even with a full set of fangs and claws, the cat rarely has a chance when caught outside, and declawed cats are even more at risk.

Indoor Cats Don’t Create Neighbor Problems

Even “well-bred” cats will venture into neighbors’ yards when allowed to roam free, and the resultant neighborhood discord has in some cases caused cat owners to move. People who don’t like cats will not tolerate cats using their gardens as litter boxes, and will sometimes resort to extreme measures to keep the cats out. At the very least, a neighbor may call the local animal control to pick up the “stray” cat.

Indoor Cats Rarely Get Abscesses From Fighting

Cats are very territorial and will defend their territory to the death, if challenged by another cat. At the very least, these territorial battles often result in abscessed wounds, which can be deadly if not treated in time. There’s also the chance, of course, of cats contracting FIV from deep bite wounds, as was the occasion with my Shannon. Shannon’s illness and subsequent death was the primary reason I changed my stance on the indoor-outdoor debate several years ago.

Indoor Cats Are Safe From Human Abuse

Freely-roaming cats are easy targets for gangs of youths with time on their hands, for cat-haters, who seek cats out for target practice, and for neighbors who would think nothing of killing a cat for trespassing on their property. Although animal protection laws are beefing up, prosecution will never bring a loved cat back to life. It’s a well known fact that serial killers often practice first with animals.

Indoor Cats Can Get Plenty of Exercise

Cats do get exercise, but they can get it safely with interactive toys, climbing towers, scratchings posts, and other indoor toys; all much safer than running from dogs or fighting with other cats. Remember also that there are safe compromises for the outdoor experience.

Indoor Cats Are not a Danger to Wildlife

Let’s face it; cats are predators, and left to their own devices outdoors, will eventually chase and kill birds, rabbits, and other small wildlife. Most of us would rather not see our cats cast in a killer role, and keeping them indoors will help protect wildlife to some degree.

Indoor Cats Don’t Get Lost

As outdoor cats widen their outdoor territories, they may become lost long enough to be “rescued” by other cat lovers, legitimate rescue groups, or picked up by animal control as strays. Statistics show that of “owned” cats turned in to shelters, only three percent are eventually relocated with their owners. Collars can break, and even microchips do not guarantee a cat will not be adopted and kept as an indoor cat by someone else. Why take the chance?

Indoor Cats Are Not Stolen

Bunchers are people who sell cats to laboratories for animal experimentation or research. Their prime source of cats is on the street. Even a cat sitting on his front lawn is fair game for a buncher. Other people pick up cats for use as “bait” for training fighting dogs. Both categories of cat-knappers are the lowest of the low, but they are out there.So beware. Remember that an indoor cat is always safer.