Flea Prevalence in Dogs & Cats
In each issue of Today’s Veterinary Practice, Pet Health by the Numbers correlates article topics with statistics provided by Banfield Pet Hospital (banfield.com). These statistics are extracted from data collected from the medical records of nearly 2.3 million dogs and 470,000 cats presented to more than 850 Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2013.
Learn more about data collection by reading Welcome to Pet Health by the Numbers (January/February 2014 issue) and Key Findings from the State of Pet Health 2014 Report (May/June 2014 issue), both available at tvpjournal.com.
Article: Feline Arthropods: Recommendations from the Companion Animal Parasite Council. The following tables outline the prevalence of fleas in dogs and cats presented to Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2013.
Path to Pet Wellness: These data confirm that fleas are a common problem in dogs and cats,1 particularly in very young animals. Cats were more likely to have fleas than dogs, probably because of their roaming activities.
The Southeast, Southern Plains, and Pacific Northwest demonstrated the highest prevalence of fleas for both dogs and cats. Warmer and more humid environments benefit flea development; however, other factors, such as the presence of feral animals, degree and vigor of flea control used, and seasonal changes, may play a role in flea burden and exposure.1 More studies are needed to document the prevalence of fleas in different regions and identify factors that contribute to variability in local flea populations and exposure risks.
Veterinarians need to educate pet owners about the risks of flea exposure2,3 and recommend strategic, effective, and safe flea control and prevention, even in areas with low flea prevalence.
—Sandra N. Koch, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVD
- Beresford-Jones WP. Prevalence of fleas on dogs and cats in an area of central London. J Small Anim Prac 1981; 2.2(1):27-29.
- Van Der Snoek TKR, Overgaauw PAM. Fleas as vectors of emerging zoonosis. Una Salud Revista Sapuvet de Salud Publica 2011; 2(2):59-79.
- McElroy KM, Blagburn BL, Breitschwerdt EB, et al. Flea-associated zoonotic diseases of cats in the USA: Bartonellosis, flea-borne rickettsioses, and plaque. Trends Parasitol 2010; 26(4):197-204.