Fleas are skin parasites that infest our animals in the hottest season. Fleas belong to the order of the Siphonaptera, Pulicidae family, those that usually infest dogs and cats are Ctenocephalides felis felis and canis. 

Dark in color, these insects measure only a few millimetres, possess three pairs of legs that allow them to make long jumps. Their nourishment, as for ticks, is made from blood. The life cycle is completed within 3-4 weeks and is developed through a metamorphosis that goes through three stages: larva, pupa and adult insect.

The problems related to the presence of fleas on dogs and cats are different, in addition to the states of weakness and anaemia caused by the removal of blood from the host, the main problem is itching due the reaction of the animal to the insect bite. The itching and therefore the self-trauma resulting from scratching causes significant side reactions such as skin wounds, scabs, alopecia sores. Also one of the most frequent dermatological diseases is the Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), clinical expression of the hypersensitivity response to the antigens of fleas. Given that the fleas are characterized by fulfilling abundant blood meals, saliva has the task of facilitating the flow of blood to the pest, and that thanks to the presence of various haemostatic factors that inhibit platelet function, cause vasodilation and prevent the phenomena of coagulation. The substances found in saliva appointed to facilitate this flow of blood are allergenic.

Finally, not to be neglected are the diseases that they can transmit, such as tapeworm infestation Dipylidium caninum, or Rickettsia also is held responsible in the spread of Bartonella henselae (scratch disease), that can be transferred to humans through a contaminated cat scratch. Humans can be bitten by young fleas looking for a host, in most cases everything is resolved with the presence of itchy hives for a few days.


The insecticides used belong to different categories:

  • Chlornicotinylguanidine: Imidacloprid
  • Phenylpyrazoles: Fipronil
  • Pyrethroids: permethrin, pyrethrins
  • Carbamates: Propoxur

In addition to the insecticides there are molecules, lufenuron, fenoxycarb and methoprene, acting on the mechanisms and / or biological factors of growth (IGR) by acting as:

  • Chitin synthesis inhibitors (useful substance for the development of the exoskeleton)
  • Molecules with like-growth hormones. On the market you can find products that are a combination of pesticides and growth inhibitors.

But now we also deal in products that are used only for fleas. I would like to say a few words about a molecule, azadirachtin extracted from the leaves and seeds of the Neem (Azadiractha indica). It is a triterpene with a protective action against external biological agents, it has several properties including the inhibition of the nutrient capacity of insects, the suppression of fertility. It is effective at low doses, and exerts effective protection against fleas and ticks, is found to be totally non-toxic. In several European countries it was already used in humans but in Italy it was introduced and marketed for veterinary use only a few years ago. It is important to periodically clean the environment in which the animal lives to prevent reinfestation.