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Fleas can cause a range of problems, including skin redness, excessive scratching, anemia in puppies, allergic reactions to the flea saliva or contraction of diseases carried by fleas.

Adult fleas are dark brown, about the size of a sesame seed. They live their entire adult lives on your pet and feed on their blood. Fleas can be picked up in the environment or through contact with an infected pet.

The adult female flea will start laying eggs daily (up to 50 a day). These eggs fall from your pet, landing on the carpet, furniture, dog bedding, and anywhere your pet goes. The eggs hatch within 4 weeks into worm-like larvae that burrow deeper into soft furnishings, carpet, and the nooks and crannies of your home.

There the pupae produce a silk-like cocoon and take 10 days to become adult fleas which only emerge when they sense pressure, carbon-dioxide (from breathing) or body heat. Once a flea emerges from a cocoon it can only survive a few days without feeding. However, cocooned fleas can survive up to 9 months in the environment! An adult flea with an ideal host can have a lifespan of a few weeks. Fleas can also bite people. It is much easier to prevent flea infestations than to treat them.


  • Flea saliva is considered one of the most irritating substances on Earth.
  • Fleas are capable of transmitting disease to humans and pets.
  • Fleas have changed history. As carriers of bubonic plague, fleas were responsible for killing one third of the population of Europe in the 14th Century.
  • A female flea consumes 15 times her body weight in blood daily. More than 2,400 flea species exist worldwide.
    Relative to their body size, fleas accelerate the equivalent of 50 times faster than the space shuttle’s speed after liftoff.
  • Great jumpers – fleas can jump 150 times the length of their bodies, the equivalent to a man jumping 1,000 feet.
  • Fleas reproduce rapidly at room temperature, making your home, pet and carpet the perfect year round breeding environment.
  • You may not see fleas but they can be on your pet and in your environment.
  • Check for flea fecal matter – oval flakes at the base of your pet’s tail. Flea fecal matter contains blood, which turns red when placed on a moist paper towel.

We recommend a ONCE MONTHLY flea preventative for your pet beginning as early as 8 weeks old.

If you find fleas on your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian, who will recommend a course of treatment for your pet and your home. Remember for every flea you see on your pet there are hundreds more in your environment. Successful flea control means treating both your pet and your home.


Ticks live in tall grasses and heavily wooded areas. It is important that anytime you or your pets are in these environments a tick check be performed when you return home. Don’t forget to check between the toes and behind the ears where ticks love to hang out. Ticks burrow their heads into the skin of your pet and gorge on the blood. The bites can cause skin irritations, and spread diseases including the Ehrlichia canis bacterium, better known as Tick Fever. The safest way to remove a tick is to lightly pull a tick’s body with tweezers and wait for the tick to let go. Complete removal of the tick is important. If a head remains imbedded in your pet’s skin or you are in doubt about how to remove ticks, make an appointment with one of our veterinarians to remove them for you.


What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease for pets in Saint-Martin/Sint-Maarten and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans.


The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.


Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. While this means heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, it’s important to understand that even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease.


Why does the veterinarian want to check a stool sample? Dogs and Cats are victims of several internal parasites frequently referred to as worms. The most common are the roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Of these four only two are commonly seen in the stool with the unaided eye: roundworms and tapeworms.

Most worm infestations cause any or all of these symptoms: diarrhea, perhaps with blood; weight loss; dry hair; general poor appearance; and vomiting, perhaps with worms in the vomit. However, some infestations cause few or no symptoms; in fact some worm eggs or larvae can be dormant in the dog’s body and activated only in times of stress, or in the case of roundworms and hookworms, until the later stages of pregnancy when they activate and infest the soon-to-be-born puppies and kittens.

CAUTION! Intestinal parasites of dogs and cats are potential health hazards for humans, too. If hookworm larvae penetrate the skin they can cause “cutaneous larval migrans”, a potentially serious and scarring inflammation results.

For example, ascarid (roundworm) eggs, if ingested, can cause a disease called “visceral larval migrans” where tiny worm larvae migrate through the person’s intestinal wall and into the body tissues. They then grow to larger size almost anywhere in the body. Ocular disease is a common sequel “visceral larval migrans”.

Children are at most serious risk especially if play behavior is in an environment where dog, cat, or wild life feces may be present… such as at the beach. A single adult Toxicara canis female can shed up to 100,000 eggs a day which pass into the dog (or cat’s) environment with the stool.

Please take the worming advice of your veterinarian seriously and adhere to strict sanitation principles whenever pets and children are in close contact. It is important to use the correct wormer under veterinary supervision, and have the pet’s feces checked every 6 months. Please contact the Animal Hospital of St. Maarten at 544-4111 for more information.

Client Testimonials

What Dr Glen did for our kitten we can not impress enough how thankful we are that he guide us the right way to have a surgery for our Rambo. Rambo show his gratitude every day that he is still alive because of the professional sugary of Dr Glen and bring every day time some lizards or birds to home.

Trudy & Ruud

Great place, great doctor, great staff

Elizabeth M

This has been our Animal Hospital for many years. Dr. Glen & his helpers do a wonderful job caring for our furry family

Jill & Colin Percy

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