Fleas are troublesome critters that most dog owners need to deal with at least a few times in their dog’s life. It’s true that some breeds are more prone to getting fleas than others, and in this article, we’ll be focusing solely on Vizslas. Our resident vet explains everything you need to know.
So Do Vizslas Get Fleas?
Though this is not the answer any Vizsla owner wants, yes, all dogs can get fleas. Vizslas are not immune to these bothersome critters and are just as much at risk as other canine friends.
While fleas do tend to prefer dogs with long hair due to their built-in hiding spaces, there are still plenty of fleas that would be happy to make a home on your Vizsla. If an animal is covered in a coat of hair, they can, unfortunately, get fleas.
Are Fleas Common In Vizslas?
If you live in an environment with mild to warm weather at some point throughout the year, fleas are a common issue. Fleas are one of the most common health concerns among pet owners, as they are found almost everywhere throughout the world.
Fleas are so common in canine friends that they are almost always the first suspicion when a dog is suddenly itchy. If your Vizsla spends any time outdoors, even for short potty breaks, fleas are a potential threat.
What Are The Signs Of Fleas In Vizslas?
While most of us know that fleas can cause a dog to itch, there are a few more symptoms that their presence can lead to as well. To help you diagnose fleas in your canine friend, let’s list some of the most common signs to look out for below.
⭐ Some of the signs of fleas in Vizslas include:
- Constant scratching, often sudden or frantic
- Biting or licking the skin
- Red patches of skin
- Fur loss, especially near the base of the tail and on the legs
- Flea dirt in the fur, tiny specks of black debris
- Bumps on the skin
- Sores on the skin
- Chronic skin infections or hot spots
- Ear infections
- Skin odor
If you notice any of these symptoms in your Vizsla pup, it’s time to dig through their fur and search for any crawling critters. If you are unsure of how to identify these tiny insects, you can always have them seen by your veterinarian.
4 Known Complications Of Fleas
While you may be aware of the constant irritation fleas can bring, you may not know about the list of serious health complications that fleas can cause in our beloved pups. Fleas are much more than an irritating ectoparasite and are actually a vector for a slew of potential complications.
1. Skin Infections
Dogs don’t understand how traumatic constant itching can be to their skin. Not only can the scratching and biting be damaging in itself, but it can also introduce bacteria to the damaged skin.
Once bacteria make their way into the traumatized skin, this can quickly lead to a serious infection. Not only are these infections extremely uncomfortable for a dog to experience, but they can quickly become a serious health threat if the infection is left untreated.
2. Intestinal Parasites
Once your Vizsla has become the host for a family of fleas, they are then at risk to the intestinal parasites that fleas can harbor. The canine tapeworm is actually acquired through the flea, and can make its way into your dog’s GI tract once an infected flea is ingested.
Tapeworms in Vizslas can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and other troubling signs of GI upset. Not only can these GI symptoms impact your dog’s comfort, but you may also begin to see segments of tapeworms in their stool. No matter how strong your stomach is, this is never fun to experience.
If this isn’t scary enough, you may also be shocked to learn that tapeworms are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to humans as well. This is just one more reason why it’s so important to keep fleas away from your pup.
3. Flea-borne Illness
Not only are fleas a vector for tapeworms, but they can also be infected with an array of harmful bacteria and blood parasites. Fleas are known to carry dangerous conditions such as Typhus and Haemobartonellosis, both of which are zoonotic. As someone who has had Bartonella in the past, I can assure you that it is not something you want to experience.
4. Flea Anemia
Fleas make a home on your dog in order to feed on their precious blood. While a small flea infestation may not steal too much of your Vizsla’s blood, a large infestation can quickly lead to a case of flea anemia.
Anemia is a life-threatening condition in dogs that refers to an inadequate number of red blood cells in circulation. This dangerous condition can lead to respiratory distress, severe weakness, collapse, and even death.
Flea anemia in dogs often requires aggressive hospitalization and blood transfusions in severe cases. Not only is this a dangerous condition that can put a dog’s life at risk, but it comes with a hefty hospital bill as well.
4 Ways To Treat Fleas In Vizslas
Once you have found fleas on your Vizsla friend, you likely want to eliminate their presence as quickly as possible. There are a few different ways to banish these critters for good, so let’s introduce you to a few of our favorite tips.
It’s important to note that it is not always a quick fix when it comes to treating fleas, and most of these methods will need to be practiced together. Fleas are extremely invasive and often require a well-rounded plan to permanently treat.
Capstar is a medication that can successfully kill all living fleas on your dog within a few hours of consumption. By distributing a flea-killing chemical throughout a dog’s bloodstream it quickly causes all feeding fleas to meet their demise.
In the first hour of your dog taking the capstar, you may notice the fleas on their body acting erratically and frantically crawling around their skin. While this may cause your dog to become itchier for a short period, this means the medication is working.
The chemical in this tablet initially attacks a flea’s nervous system but will lead to the flea’s death within the next hour. Once all the fleas on your dog have died, you can then bathe them to rid their fur of any lingering debris.
It’s important to note that Capstar can only be given once every 24 hours, and is only recommended as a temporary fix to a current flea infestation. Capstar is not meant to be used for long-term protection, and should not be used as flea prevention.
After the first use of Capstar, you should then offer your dog a proper flea prevention medication going forward. Capstar can be found at most pet stores and comes in a variety of weight ranges.
If your dog has a current flea infestation, you likely want to rid their body of these crawling critters. Though there are multiple flea shampoos on the market, many of them can be a serious health threat when not used properly. To prevent any serious complications, I always suggest just using a soap option that contains surfactants.
Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of water. This causes all living fleas to sink when coming in contact with the soap, resulting in the death of the fleas on your dog’s skin. While these soaps are not suitable as long-term dog shampoo, they are wonderful options when it comes to safely removing fleas.
Most dish soaps are suitable for this task, with Dawn dish soap being the most popular. Most veterinary offices turn to dawn dish soap when ridding animals of severe flea infestations, giving it the veterinary seal of approval. It is what we often use for small or young animals that cannot receive flea treatment due to their size, as it will safely kill fleas without any chemical use.
We should mention again that these soap options should not be used as regular dog shampoo, but only for the purpose of killing fleas. These soaps can strip your dog’s skin of natural oils when used too often.
3. Treating Your Home
If fleas are on your Vizsla, they are probably in your home as well. Fleas love to hide out in dark spaces throughout your home, rapidly reproducing to the point of infestation.
You will never keep fleas off your dog if they are still present in your home, making it essential to treat your house for any living fleas or flea eggs. Most pest control services have a flea treatment option, and will work with you to determine the best option for your situation.
4. Flea Prevention
Once you have explored the options above, it is time to get your Vizsla started on an approved monthly flea and tick prevention. The methods we discussed above can certainly kill any fleas that are currently on your dog’s body, but they will not prevent any new fleas from settling in.
We always suggest speaking with your veterinarian about which store-bought flea preventions they approve, or purchasing flea protection at their office.
When To See The Vet
If you see any crawling critters on your Vizsla’s skin, we always suggest giving your vet a call to seek their advice. They may have a plan of action that they recommend for your situation or can suggest any products that they suggest for your pup.
If you do choose to purchase any flea products from a store, we highly recommend running them by your vet to make sure they have the veterinary seal of approval.
Fleas are unwelcome guests that can cause multiple compilations in our Vizsla friends. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can keep your dog flea-free going forward!
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