The Three Biggest Life-Threatening Risks Of Fleas

15 October 2018
 Categories: , Blog


If you have a cat that's ever had fleas, you probably have thought of them as a gross nuisance, but not much more. It might surprise you that fleas can actually pose a major health hazard to cats and are something that your cat should always be protected from. Here are three of the biggest health risks of fleas and what you need to know about them.

Severe Anemia

Nearly everyone knows that fleas suck blood, but did you know that the blood loss can become severe? In bad enough flea infestations, enough blood can be lost for a cat to become anemic. If your cat is already anemic or you have a kitten, this anemia can become life-threatening.

Serious flea infestations should always be combated, especially if you have a kitten. Failure to do so could actually cause a kitten to die.


Most people don't know that there's a connection between tapeworms and fleas for cats. This is because the tapeworm larvae are actually spread by infected fleas.

Fleas are able to carry the tapeworm larvae without any issues for themselves. However, once they land on your cat, your cat may accidentally eat the fleas that are carrying the larvae. This usually happens while a cat is grooming themselves. Once the flea is consumed, the larvae hatches in your cat's stomach and a full-fledged tapeworm infestation can result.

Tapeworms consume the food that your cat eats, which means that your cat can experience severe malnutrition from them. When combined with anemia, this can quickly become a life-endangering condition.

Mycoplasma Haemofelis

Finally, there's a condition called mycoplasma haemofelis that most pet owners have never heard of. This is a condition that fleas can carry that's triggered by something called mycoplasma. These mycoplasma adhere themselves to red blood cells and attack them, damaging them and rendering them ineffective in spreading oxygen through the body.

If that weren't enough, once the mycoplasma are attached, white blood cells recognize the invasion and attack them and the red blood cells they're attached to. If enough red blood cells are damaged, anemia can occur. If your cat is already anemic from being bitten by many fleas, this can progress to life-threatening anemia.

Fleas should be killed as soon as possible with anti-flea treatments. These medications should always be used to keep fleas away once an invasion is beaten, too. Talk with a vet, such as at Clovis Veterinary Hospital P A, if you have questions about the best anti-flea treatments or concerns about your cat's health.