fleas

Finally!! It’s here! Song written entirely by me, this song means the entire world to me from start to finish. Everything I am and everything I want to be. This is different from anything I’ve done before and I hope you’ll give it the same chance you gave me. Thank you all.

A dog is a dog even without his leash but I knew, oh I knew.. before I got your fleas

- B.B.

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B.B. | Fleas (visual by @babesimpson )

“Fleas” is now live on spotify and other streaming sites

Marauders Headcanon

So I have this head canon that at one point during 6th year, just after Remus and Sirius had gotten together, Padfoot & Moony wandered off for some alone time during a full moon.

James and Peter don’t know where they went or what they were doing but they ended up with a horrible flea infestation. And I’m sure they’re some kind of magical flea that just multiplies every time they scratch.

Cut to the next day in the shrieking shack and all four of them are scratching like there’s no tomorrow.

They wander back through the castle and don’t realise fleas are jumping off them like crazy. They go about their day none the wiser but still scratching.

The next day the students of Hogwarts wake up covered in fleas. There’s fleas in the dorms, fleas in the common rooms, the classrooms, the great hall, the staff room, EVERYWHERE.

That morning at breakfast McGonnagall is losing it “Where did they come from!?!? Who is responsible for this!?!?

Sirius stands up, clears his throat and says "Minnie, darling, have you seen how many people in this place have pets? Aren’t you a cat Animagus yourself? Frankly I am SHOCKED that there hasn’t been an infestation before now!?!?”

Slow murmurs spread the hall and everyone starts agreeing with him.

Dumbledore stands up and addresses the hall “Perhaps Mr Black is right Minerva. Professor Slughorn & Madam Pomfrey will be handing out potions to rid the school, I suggest if you have been affected you report to them as soon as you can.”

Meanwhile Remus, who had been sitting there quietly during Sirius’ speech, whispers “Totally worth it Padfoot, nice save.”

And James just glares at both of them while scratching his head.

The Marauders biggest prank and they didn’t have to lift a finger, serve a detention or lose any house points.

Three days later after every last flea has disappeared they see McGonnagall walk past in her animagus form wearing a flea collar…..

You can take your 'Natural' Flea Remedies...

… And shove them somewhere dark and anatomical.

You sit comfortably behind your computer screen, far from suffering, possibly never even seeing a flea, either because you never looked or because they were never there in the first place, and proudly tell people that vets are just in it for the money, so you should treat fleas with olive oil / garlic / diatomaceous earth / apple cider vinegar / wishful thinking instead.

You’re not here in the real world trying to comfort an old, desperate woman who took your advice and is paying the price. Her old cat is being put to sleep because of massive flea burden causing an iron deficiency anaemia, with a PCV of 11% (lost 70% of her blood cells to these parasites). She might have afforded a dose of real flea treatment that works, instead of wasting in on your ‘cheap alternatives’,  but she certainly can’t afford the blood transfusion, oxygen therapy and intensive care her cat requires.

You’re not here as I put her cat to sleep, resting on her tear soaked chest, coat greasy with olive oil, stinking of garlic and lavender.

 You don’t see the consequences of these unchecked parasites, which you probably only ever thought of as a dirty annoyance.

 But I am here.

I am here comforting this woman while bad internet advice killed her cat with a completely preventable condition.

So to those promoting ‘natural’ parasite control, whether it’s because you like to feel clever, or always wanted to be a vet but didn’t get to be one, I’d just like you to know one more thing.

Death by parasite is completely 'natural’ too.

Despite the fact I love bugs, there are some of them that I really despise: the most prominent example are bugs that drink blood, such as fleas. They jump high, they suck blood from dogs, and sometimes, men… there’s something about them that make me cringe, and a certain SpongeBob episode made things worse with them, but…

…there are always exceptions, and this one is one of the cutest ones.

Important lessons from entomology

Lice are specialists. Fleas are generalists.

You cannot get lice from another species of animal. That whole “don’t touch a bird nest because you’ll get bird lice” thing is totally untrue; bird lice would die very quickly on a human body. However you CAN get fleas from other animals; if your dog or cat has fleas you can quite easily get fleas from them.

Flea-nial (flēˈnīəl) - n. The refusal of a pet owner to admit their dog or cat has fleas.

“The owner has brought his/her dog in multiple times for scratching and/or missing hair.  The owner has read conflicting information about those monthly “poisons”, so he/she uses some natural remedies found online.  Because of this, he/she claims his/her pet could not possible have fleas.  The owner is in flea-nial.”

synonyms: difficult client, refusal of treatment

see also: Dr. Google, homeopathy, dog food paranoia

HOW TO KILL YOUR FLEAS

Tumblr! Do you have fleas? Here is what to do!

So firstly: I worked at vet clinics for about two years several years ago, so there might be more updated info out there. Secondly: Our family has been dealing with a massive flea infestation in my grandmother’s house (long story, but no one lives there now), so this is what I’ve learned from vets and also from our ordeal:

Background info: fleas have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult.

Adults lay tiny eggs that are sticky at first but then dry and roll off wherever they were laid (fur, bedding, furniture) and usually end up on the floor. When they hatch a few days later, the larva wriggle somewhere dark. They can survive for months eating crap on the ground/in carpets: dried blood/flea poop, dander/skin cells, gross things like that. Then they make a cocoon and go into the pupa stage. Those fuckers can stay in stasis in their little indestructible cases for up to TWO YEARS.

Then when they sense vibration, light, or heat, they quickly hatch into ravenous adult fleas. They can only lay eggs once they’ve eaten a blood meal, so if they hatch and can’t find anything to bite they will starve in 2-3 days.

Important: The live fleas you see represent only about 5% of the total population. The rest are in the other life stages. Killing only the fleas you see is not enough.

The trick to killing them and keeping them gone is to interrupt their life cycle and keep them from laying more eggs. So the best way to do that is:

1. Kill the fleas currently on your pet.
2. Apply a long-lasting flea med that will keep killing fleas on your pet.
3. Attack the source of the fleas: your house, animal bedding, yard, etc.
4. CONSTANT VIGILANCE.

Details:

- wash your furbabies with Dawn dish detergent (don’t bother with fancy flea baths, dish soap does the same thing but cheaper and with less chemicals. That will kill all the fleas currently on the animal. (Be careful around their eyes, etc).

- treat all of your animals with decent (and unfortunately expensive) monthly flea medicine. Revolution and Advantage II are good ones for cats, Frontline, Comfortis, Advantage II, K9 Advantix, and Trifexis are great for dogs. There are topical meds and also pills - you can decide which you’d rather use. Cheap knock-off products do not work. They might contain similar chemicals but they’re not dispersed under the skin/through the fat layer the same way. Definitely stay away from anything made by Adams. Ineffective and dangerous.

Bonus: some flea meds will also protect against other parasites like hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms. Any meds that protect against heartworms will require a heartworm test first. (TREAT YOUR PETS FOR HEARTWORMS PLZ. That’s a whole other post but it’s so easy to prevent and SOOOO expensive and hard to treat once they’re infected). Also: fleas transmit tapeworms between pets.

Some vet clinics will let you do a payment plan for flea meds, or you can get them online from 1800petmeds.com. I know what it’s like to not have enough money for flea meds. Trust me, you will end up spending more trying to get rid of them if you only use cheap stuff, and your cats and dogs will be miserable in the meantime. I got my meds at a huge discount when I worked at a vet clinic… Something to consider?

The hard part is that you have to keep all of the animals in your house on flea meds for at least four months, and preferably all year round. It takes about 4-5 months for the meds to kill all the fleas that will continue to hatch. Any untreated animals (stray cats that you feed, your brother’s untreated dog) will continue to be a source of new fleas. Cold weather only kills outdoor fleas. The ones that live inside can stay perfectly warm and alive all winter.

Another thing about meds: some kill fleas after they bite, some make them sterile so they can keep biting but can’t lay eggs. I prefer the killing ones. Most meds take at least an hour to start working (so if you want to wash your pet a few hours later or the next day that’s fine, topical ones will be absorbed already), and if they throw up after getting the oral meds (pretty common), if it’s been over an hour they’ve got the meds in their system. If it’s been less than an hour you’ll have to re-dose. Some vet clinics will give you a discount if you come back and tell them your dog puked up the flea pill. That shit is expensive.

There is a difference between monthly topical meds like Revolution and Frontline and a pill called Capstar - Capstar will kill all of the fleas on your pet but it only lasts 24 hours. Then any fleas in the area can hop back on and keep biting. So Capstar is good to start with, but it’s not a long-term solution.

Also, flea meds start to lose effectiveness around the 3-4 week mark, which is why you have to reapply every month.

- The second battleground is your house. Also hard work, but doable. Bomb away if you like, but those chemicals are no joke and bombs don’t usually get behind furniture, etc. And they only kill eggs, larva, and adult fleas. Almost nothing kills the pupa. Motherfuckers.

- Vacuum vacuum vacuum. It sucks hardcore (haha?), but it’s the most effective way to stop the cycle. Vacuum your whole house, pull out furniture and vacuum behind it, get every crevice and corner, vacuum couches, chairs, etc.

- Do it again every day. Or every other day. It gets exhausting. :(

- Empty your vacuum OUTSIDE / put it straight into a trash bag and get it out of your house. You can cut up a cheap flea collar (wear gloves!) and put a few pieces in the vacuum to kill any buggers in there.

SIDE NOTE: flea collars are completely ineffective at keeping your pets free of fleas. Mostly they’re a giant scam. :(
(Veterinarian joke: What do all pets with flea collars have in common? Fleas.)

- Simultaneously: wash all bedding (human and pet) and everything you possibly can (clothes, rugs, toys, furniture covers) in hot water to kill fleas/eggs/etc. We bagged up things that had been washed in plastic bags and put them on high closet shelves until the population was eradicated. Buttttt we didn’t live at the house. So just keep washing things that you have to keep using.

- Flea sprays are full of creepy poison but they work and keep working for weeks so use them on furniture, in hard to reach places, etc, if you are okay with the risk of fumes.

- Alternatively, get good quality flea powder (NOT diatomaceous earth, which will work but is bad for animal and human lungs), or plain old borax - sprinkle it everywhere, brush it into carpets, put it along walls and into cracks, and you can leave it down for weeks.

- this gets tricky with the vacuuming, so you might have to keep reapplying powder. :-/

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: organic/natural/homeopathic flea treatments like vinegar and garlic and stuff are nice but they Do. Not. Work. Longterm. I’m completely all for using natural cleaning supplies, etc, whenever possible, but when it comes to fleas, go with the scientifically proven chemicals that KILL THOSE SUCKERS and work for weeks.

- It’s actually easier to get rid of fleas when you have pets in your house b/c the pupa will keep getting triggered to hatch, plus fleas prefer dogs and cats as hosts to people, so if you’re keeping your beasties on good flea meds, the fleas will keep getting killed off and within a few weeks or months you should be flea-free!

Of course, if you have fleas outside in your yard, or other animals that can bring fleas inside (or you track eggs in on your shoes), those might go through a few cycles before getting killed off. So treating your yard might be a good investment, but idk about that b/c I haven’t done it. Ask your vet. If you can’t afford to go in, call at a non-busy time (mid-mornings? depends on the clinic) and ask for advice.

The hardest situation (we have merrily learned) is getting rid of fleas in an empty house. Sprays, bombs, and powders will kill eggs, larva, and anything alive, but those damn pupa will hang out forever, impervious, until unsuspecting humans or animals walk in. Then it’s like a fucking flea explosion. Augh.

Other tips:

- To see if you have fleas in your house, wear shorts with tall white socks and walk around - the fleas will be visible on the socks and you can pluck them off and kill them.

- HOW TO KILL A FLEA: pinch it between two fingers, roll it back and forth to stun it, then put it on a hard white surface (countertop, etc), and quickly crush it with the back of your thumbnail. It will make a satisfying SNCK sound. Then wash it down the sink. It helps to do the plucking and rolling somewhere near a light surface in case they jump away - they’re easier to spot.

- fleas can jump about 18-20 inches high.

- to make a flea trap: get a shallow dish, put a few drops of dish detergent and some water in it, then put a clear cup in the dish with a tealight or battery-powered candle in it. Leave it in a dark room overnight. (Don’t leave candles unattended, obv). The fleas will jump towards the light/heat, and will drown in the water. Satisfying to see in the morning and also a decent indicator of how many fleas are still around. Putting a dish or pan of water under a lamp also works, I’ve heard.

- To see if your animal has fleas (b/c I can’t tell you how often a client would say “my dog/cat doesn’t have fleas! I’ve never seen any!” but then we check and SURPRISE) – get a flea comb. They’re cheap and a good thing to have on hand.

Comb your pet: behind the ears, under the neck, near the tail, on the belly, inside of the legs - fleas like to hide in dark places. Then pull the tuft of fur and dirt off the comb and put it on a white napkin or paper towel. Then wet the fur on the towel and mush it around. Fleas poop dried blood that looks like little black dots. When it gets wet it turns red - voila, your pet has fleas. If it doesn’t turn red, check again, and if you’re still clear, congrats!

Oh also: lots of clients would say that their pet picked up fleas at the vet clinic. What usually happened is that their pet picked up fleas from their nasty pet carriers that they used to transport their pets to the clinic in. Pet goes in, waiting pupa hatch, fleas lay eggs, they fall off in the carrier, then wait ‘til the next time the pet is in there. TWO YEARS, remember? Wash your pet carriers, please!!

Wow, you read all of that. Good job and good luck!

(I didn’t get into flea allergies b/c I’m not knowledgeable about that - ask your vet).

tl;dr:

Use effective high-quality flea meds consistently (all year), vacuum like hell, wash bedding in hot water.

What puppy and cat-friendly flea treatments do you guys use for your dogs?

Marley is particularly prone to fleas, and my dad is working on treating the yards and house for them. We don’t get ticks unless we go to the countryside. We’ve been using DE this year, but that, of course, doesn’t kill the eggs, and doesn’t repel fleas. Thus, we are probably going to buy a lice or flea comb. We aren’t quite sure what to go with, as we’ve used flea shampoo and collars in the past, but this is turning out to be a crappy flea season.

I particularly like natural repellents, but anything will do, at this point.