Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitos
A blood-sucking insect, which feeds on pit bulls and other animals, can bite humans and is capable of jumping from 14 to 16 inches. Female fleas begin laying eggs within 48 hours of their first blood meal and can lay as many as 200 eggs on your pitbull in a matter of days.
1. A female flea sucks up to 30 times her weight in blood and excretes six times her weight in flea baby food: blood-rich, nutrient-packed feces. 2. Fleas can transmit tapeworms and can cause severe skin irritation in pit bulls. 3. A flea can jump more than eight inches high – the equivalent to a pit bull jumping over the Statue of Liberty
4. One female flea can lay 25 to 50 eggs on your pit bull each day
A blood-sucking creature related to spiders. The type of tick that bothers pit bulls are “three-host ticks”, feeding on different animals during their life cycle. When they bite your pit bull, ticks engorge themselves with blood. When full, they can live for months without food.
1. Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to both pitbulls and humans by the bite of infected deer ticks, affects more than 16,000 Americans each year
2. Ticks have harpoon-like barbs on their mouths to attach to your pitbull for feeding and a sticky secretion to help them hold on
3. Ticks can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which strikes 300 to 400 Americans a year
4. Some species of ticks lay about 100 eggs at a time; others lay 3,000 to 6,000 per batch
Species of mosquitoes are the most prominent bloodsucking insects that annoy man, your pit bull and other warm-blooded animals. Not only are their bites (and subsequent itching welts) annoying, but mosquitoes can transmit several serious diseases to man, pit bulls and other animals, including malaria, dengue fever, filariasis, encephalitis viruses and heartworm.
1. Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm and other disease by biting an infected pitbull, then passing the infection to another pit bull
2. Heartworms, which develop in the skin then migrate to the heart, can grow to more than 12 inches long and can be fatal to pit bulls
3. Mosquitoes can carry the sometimes-fatal West Nile virus to humans and pit bulls
4. One female may lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time and may average 1,000 to 3,000 offspring during her life span
Flea Life Cycle
1. Female fleas lay as many as 50 eggs a day, starting a life cycle that can be completed in as little as three weeks, depending on temperature and humidity.
2. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on “flea dirt,” the excrement of partially digested blood.
3. Larvae grow and molt twice, then spin cocoons, where they grow to pupae and then adults.
4. The adult remains in the cocoon until vibrations indicate a host is nearby. This waiting can extend the life cycle. It also explains why large numbers of fleas often are seen when an empty building is reoccupied.
5. Six-legged adults emerge and attach to a host to feed and breed, beginning the cycle all over again.
TICK LIFE CYCLE
1. Adult females of some species lay about 100 eggs at a time. Others lay 3,000 to 6,000 eggs per batch.
2. Six-legged larvae hatch from the eggs.
3. After at least one blood meal, the larvae molt into eight-legged nymphs – in some species, more than once.
4. Final nymphs molt into adult males or females, also with eight legs.
5. Depending on its species, a tick may take less than a year or up to several years to go through its four-stage life cycle. While ticks need a blood meal at each stage after hatching, some species can survive years without feeding.
1. Wash pit bulls bedding regularly with a detergent, then dry on high heat.
2. Clean, mop and vacuum your home to get rid of immature fleas and their food sources.
4. Vacuum frequently and change the bag right away, discarding the old bag in a closed plastic bag.
5. Check pitbulls regularly for fleas and “flea dirt,” the feces of adult fleas, with a flea comb. Flea dirt looks like tiny dark specks and will turn red if you get them wet and rub them a little. If detected, treat the pitbull and the environment (bedding, carpet, furniture, etc.) with appropriate flea and tick products to kill fleas and prevent eggs and larvae from developing. Always read labels carefully.
5. Check pit bulls (and yourself) for ticks, especially after spending time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas. If a tick is found, remove the entire tick with fine-point tweezers, and then wash hands thoroughly.
6. Mow lawns frequently and remove brush, tall grasses, leaves and debris to make your yard less inviting for ticks. Ticks lie in wait for hosts in such areas with front legs extended, then latch undetected on to passing pitbulls or people.
7. To reduce the risk of heartworm, reduce your pitbullss exposure to mosquitoes by removing standing water from buckets, old tires and other areas in the yard where mosquitoes may breed.
8. Use flea, tick and mosquito repellents on pit bulls, in the home, and in other areas as needed to keep pests at bay. Read labels carefully and use only as directed.