We are tempted to overlook fleabites and their effects on our pets and our loved ones because we feel it is less severe than ticks, which are known for spreading Lyme disease. However, it may surprise you to know that fleas are capable of transmitting quite a number of diseases to animals and humans. These diseases are harmful to humans as well as pets’ health, which fleas spread through their bites or when your cats or dogs unknowingly ingest these fleas during self-grooming.
There are four flea diseases we all need to be careful of; they are Murine Typhus, Tapeworms, Mycoplasma haemofelis, and Cat Scratch Disease.
Rats are the primary carrier for the type of flea that carries Murine typhus; however, cats can contract the infection by infected fleas that can bring these disease vectors to your home. Unfortunately, humans can get infected with this disease from a flea bite. When fleas bite, they leave defecate at the same time, thereby affecting the host with Murine typhus. The feces contain a type of bacteria called the Rickettsia typhi; the bacteria find their way to the body via the wound of the bite area by merely scratching the area.
Headaches, nausea, body aches, fever are typically the signs of Murine typhus disease. Five or six days after the initial symptoms, the patient may notice a rash that starts on the trunk of the body and then spreads to the arm and legs. However, it is essential to see your doctor as soon as possible for confirmation before treatment.
You can treat the disease with antibiotics only at the early stage of the infection; if it is not treated on time, the patient may be hospitalized and if left untreated, the disease may linger for several months.
Tapeworms are one of the loathsome parasites that cause damages to cats, dogs and humans’ intestine. Your pets can get tapeworms by ingesting the infected adult fleas and that can happen during self-grooming or grooming other animals. In addition, cats can also get the parasite by eating mice.
It is easy to treat tapeworms in humans as well as pets; both species can be cured of the infection using praziquantel. The drug can dissolve the parasite within the intestine.
The Mycoplasma haemofelis is a parasitic bacterial infection that can be transmitted to cats through mosquitoes, fleas, and tick bites. It affects the red blood cells and can cause anemia and fever in cats. Moreover, there is also some evidence that humans are prone to the disease especially those with weak immune systems. An infected flea can transmit the disease to you and your cat.
As soon as the disease gains access to the cat’s red blood cells, the immune system treats the red blood cells as foreign this marks them for elimination. It is the large numbers of red blood cells usually leads to anemia.
The good news is, Mycoplasma haemofelis can be treated using antibiotics on affected animals, but in severe cases, the cat may need a blood transfusion and then antibiotics. However, some cats require steroid medications to stop the immune system from attacking its own red blood cells.
Cat Scratch Disease
The cat scratch disease is caused by a bacteria Bartonella henselae (B. henselae), and the condition is relatively common in felines. Some cats develop severe symptoms such as lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, vomiting or decreased appetite. As soon as you notice these signs, it is necessary to take your cat to the vet.
One of the fantastic things about cats is they hardly fall sick, and if they do, it takes two or three days before they recover; it makes it difficult to tell if the disease infects your cat. Cats transmit the disease to humans by scratching or biting them.
The disease can affect the eyes, the brain, hearts and every other internal organ, although this case is rare. However, complications may occur in children under the age of five and individuals with a compromised immune system. The good news is you can stop the disease from getting to your environment by hiring a professional pest control service near you