National Flea Week

We all assume most vets to be animal-lovers. I know I certainly am, and always have been. But occasionally I find it a bit weird that we choose to kill some animals in order to save others. I mean, who the f**k are we, as human beings, to make that decision anyway?

Ticks and worms are both termed ‘parasites’, but aren’t they just trying to survive like any other creature? Even us? Our society is so conditioned to animals being valued more if they’ve been converted to domestic uses or tamed. We’re also guilty of a worsening aesthetic madness. How an animal looks on the outside all-too-commonly determines its fate.

If boring brown cows looked like cute fluffy polar bears would we eat as much beef? I wonder if the ‘sport’ of Bullfighting would exist at all. The more an animal behaves like us (for example penguins vs. chickens), or is seemed to ‘make an effort’ via either looks or being trainable, it’s safe to enjoy a guaranteed longevity and future. Surely this is not what Darwin meant with his Survival of the Fittest theory?

So it seems ironic that this week we should all be celebrating National Flea Week – a chance for all us animal-lovers, together as a nation, to rejoice in exterminating one of the oldest and most talented living creatures on this planet.

The average flea is only 2-3 mm long, yet it dates back over 40 million years. Without ears and virtually blind, they can jump 50 times faster than the Space Shuttle and lay up to 1,500 eggs in a lifetime. And in only 21 days, just one flea can become 1,000 on your pet and in your home – a true success story.

But the truth of course is that when it comes to fleas and other parasites, we’re pet-owners more than animal lovers, so it’s totally acceptable to kill fleas and prevent suffering of our pets, and indeed ourselves. But isn’t it a huge testament to the flea that they’re still around?

So good at developing resistance to the thousands of products past and present; still out there, hiding in any dark nook or cranny. A flea pupa (in which the adult develops) can survive for a year in your home before hatching. In fact 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in our beds, rugs, carpets and sofas – not actually on our beloved pets.

So when we’re choosing our flea prevention techniques this week, please spare a thought for the hardy brave flea, and indeed all animals out there that are just trying to – quite literally – make a living.

Many practices around the UK are taking part in National Flea Week, each in their own way. Some are even offering free flea checks. For more information about National Flea Week visit


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