May 7, 2013

Natural Flea Prevention and Treatment

natural flea prevention and treatmentFleas can be a particularly pesky and difficult pest to eliminate; they can jump around 100 times their own height, females lay 20,000 eggs in just a few months, and eggs take between 3 and 6 weeks to hatch.  All these factors make fleas versatile and elusive and as a result many pet owners turn to commercial flea products to kill the pets and prevent future outbreaks.  In some cases, you may have no choice but to seek stronger flea treatments but there are also a range of natural preventative measures that you can try to control the flea population in your home and pets.

One simple and natural flea prevention is garlic.  By adding garlic to your pet’s meals you may find that you have effectively prevented fleas.  In addition, there are many meal additives that can deter fleas; sulfur prevents fleas and can be added to your pet’s diet weekly, and black walnut hulls are available in capsule form at your local pet store and they repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.  Typically, these kinds of remedies require 4 to 6 weeks to be completely effective.

Unfortunately, when it comes to fleas, prevention may not be enough.  Especially if your dog or cat is already infested with fleas, you’ll need to take some time to get rid of the infestation.  So it’s bath time.  There is a wide selection of herbal shampoos available at the pet store that help to kill and remove fleas.  Combinations of pine cedar, bergamot, rosemary, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper, lavender, or geranium (just to name a few) are especially effective when you’re dealing with fleas.

In addition, you need to remove the fleas from your home.  One natural treatment involves mixing 1.5 pounds of diatomaceous earth, 1.5 pounds of organic borax, and 1 cup of salt.  You can purchase the diatomaceous earth and organic borax at a garden supply store.  Sprinkle this mixture throughout your house and let it sit for a few days.  Finally, vacuum up the mixture and you should be flea free!

May 13, 2010

Cat Scratch Fever

Bartonella are relatively common bacteria that are usually transmitted by fleas and ticks.  Bartonella is the bacteria that causes cat scratch fever in humans and because there are several species of Bartonella it is also linked to a number of illnesses in your cat or dog.  Indeed, infections caused by Bartonella can have many mild symptoms in dogs and cats but they often go unnoticed by humans as these illnesses are generally not very severe.

Fever, eye disease, and inflammation of the heart lining, muscle, and valves are among the most common symptoms associated with Bartonella infection.  More commonly, humans become aware of Bartonella infections because they themselves fall victim to cat scratch fever.  Also known as cat scratch disease, this infection is usually transmitted when your cat scratches you.  Some symptoms of cat scratch fever include a low grade fever, swelling of the lymph glands, and other flu-like reactions.  In most cases, cat scratch fever will last only a few days but the symptoms can extend for many months.

While systemic symptoms are not common, they are not impossible and sometimes these symptoms can become serious.  Because fleas are the most likely vectors of Bartonella it is important to ensure your dogs and cats receive some kind of flea prevention treatment.  In fact, Bartonella cannot be spread without a flea or a tick as a vector so you can easily control the spread of these bacteria with a proven flea and tick treatment like Advantage or FrontLine.

If you suspect that your pet has been infected with Bartonella you should visit your vet and have your pet tested.  Various antibiotics can be given to dogs and cats to kill these bacteria so that you can protect your family from possible infection.  Nevertheless, remember that Bartonella is not a particularly dangerous bacteria, just that you will become ill if infected.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.