Are Mutant Fleas Biting Your Cat?

Normal fleas are already a nuisance and a health threat: they can cause anemia, spread diseases, and even infect your cat with tapeworms. But if you regularly treat your cats to kill fleas and are still finding them on your cat or even on you, you may be dealing with mutant fleas. This guide will explain what mutant fleas are, why they're a problem, and how you should combat them.

Mutant Fleas

Fleas normally die when they're exposed to the pesticides in flea collars, anti-flea topical medications, and oral anti-flea medications. However, mutant fleas are fleas that have developed a resistance to these medications.

While flea medications generally do their job well, killing dozens or even hundreds of fleas can create a 'survival of the fittest' effect. Fleas that have inherited certain genes may be more resistant to the medication than others, and those genes allow them to reproduce while other fleas lacking them die off. Over time, these genes are spread to offspring, and eventually the fleas may become completely resistant to your anti-flea medications, becoming mutant fleas.

Why It's a Problem

Unfortunately, this is a problem for most pet owners because they tend to find a product that works and stick to it. For example, maybe a vet or pet store clerk suggested a specific topical flea medication to you years ago. You tried it, and it worked, killing off the fleas and preventing them from laying eggs and their larvae from hatching. Since it worked, you may have just kept buying the exact same kind of medication. However, this speeds up the process of creating mutant fleas, because fleas are only being exposed to one type of pesticide. Sooner or later, your medication of choice doesn't work as well as it used to, and you end up with an ongoing flea infestation. Worse still, since just one flea is all it takes to spread diseases like haemobartonellosis, if your flea treatment isn't working, you could have a serious problem on your hands.

Solving The Problem

The first step to getting back on track with an anti-flea treatment is to visit your veterinarian. Vets see pets that have active flea infestations all the time and talk to their owners about what steps they're taking to combat the problem. In some cases, mutant fleas may not just be because you personally use only one type of medication, but because your whole neighborhood or city has over-exposed fleas to certain pesticides. In these cases, your vet is your best bet for finding a medication that still works. New medications are released all the time, which can help to keep fleas at bay. However, many of them are only available through a prescription from your vet, and even those that can be bought off the shelf aren't worth buying if fleas in your area have built up a resistance.

For more information, contact Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic or a similar location.