We all know that fleas cause itching and allergies in dogs & cats (and people). A little known fact is that they also carry bacteria (bartonella), which is transmissible to humans (zoonosis). The disease it causes is often chronic and relapsing with a range of different presentations in both humans and animals. It is difficult to diagnose and often refractory to treatment. Zip into Google and check out this list of presentations: Peliosis hepatis, bacillary angiomatosis, endocarditis, myocarditis, granulomatous lymphadenitis, encephalitis, immune mediated thrombocytopaenia and immune mediated haemolytic anaemia.
Transmission of these bacteria can be a variety of insects including fleas, ticks, lice, mites, sand flies and even spiders! Cats with fleas can have flea faeces on their claws. The flea faeces contain bartonella and can cause ‘’cat scratch fever’’ in humans when scratched by a cat.
Don’t just think about the itchy dog or cat- think about yourself and your family!