Those Pesky Fleas!

The season for fleas is upon us!! Fleas can obviously be present all year long but when the warmer weather arrives our pets spend more time outside and mingle with other pets which means a higher risk of exposure. Here are some tips on how to spot and prevent fleas.

Spotting Fleas

It can be difficult to tell if your pet has fleas unless they have a ton. Those critters are fast and when the fur is touched they scurry away quickly so we can miss seeing them. It is much easier to look for flea dirt. Fleas poop a lot, so even if there are only a few fleas you are sure to find dirt. Flea dirt can feel gritty when petting your pet. It looks like dirt specks and is often comma shaped. To determine if it is in fact flea dirt place some of the specks onto a piece of paper towel. Wet your finger and touch the speck and smear it. If it leaves a blood streak it is flea dirt since they drink blood their poop is made up of blood.

If you find fleas on one of your pets, ALL of your pets need to be treated even if they don’t mingle. This includes pet ferrets and bunnies. Fleas jump far and fast and spread through the house quickly. Treatment is required 30 days after the initial treatment to break the life cycle. Fleas do not live on people but will occasionally bite people. I can stick my arm into a container of fleas and never get bitten but if my middle daughter is near one flea it somehow finds her!

Flea Symptoms

Fleas cause intense itchiness when they bite. Your pet then scratches, chews or licks their skin. This causes abrasions, inflammation and can introduce bacteria causing infectious dermatitis. Some animals are allergic to flea bites and may be affected more severely. In addition, when your pet turns to bite at the fleas they will inevitably ingest fleas and flea dirt.  Fleas can carry tapeworm and ingesting fleas may cause your pet to become infected.

Flea Prevention & Treatment

There are many great products for flea prevention and treatment.  If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors or has the potential to mingle with other animal’s prevention is easier. The veterinary products for treatment work fast and are effective. No environmental pesticides are needed when using these products but it is helpful if you wash bedding and vacuum where fleas lay their eggs (cooler, dark, damp, low traffic areas like along baseboards, between couch cushions, and under rugs).

If your pet has not been examined by a veterinarian in the last year an exam is required before dispensing the required medication. Do not be tempted to buy an over-the-counter flea medication as these can be more harmful to your pet than to the actual flea.

If you would like more information on the flea product that is right for your pet please call us to book an appointment.


Veterinarian giving a cat a vaccination

What you need to know about kitten vaccinations

Kittens will get vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then annually. Overview A vaccine is a substance created to incite an immune response for a particular disease.  It needs to be given multiple times to a kitten to initiate his immune system. 

Read More
See All Articles

Last updated: December 14, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!



We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm (Nutrition Centre Only)
Sunday: Closed


Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Hillcrest Animal Hospital