Fleas

Alternative Names

Dog fleas; Siphonaptera

Definition of Fleas

Fleas are blood-sucking insects that feed on humans, dog, cats, and other animals. Fleas do not have wings.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Fleas prefer to live on dogs and cats, but may also be found on humans and other available animals.

Signs and tests

No testing is necessary.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to get rid of the fleas by treating the home, pets, and outside areas with insecticide. Small children should not be in the home when insecticides are being used. Birds and fish must be protected during spraying. Home foggers and flea collars do not always work. If home treatments do not work, professional extermination may be needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

Getting rid of fleas can be difficult and takes persistence.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/28/2010

Flea
Flea bite - close-up

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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