© Martin Haas - 123rf.com

English for PTA


Cats are more likely to have fleas than dogs. Pet owners themselves are also not safe from these tiny beasts. The problem is the fact that the lifecycle of a flea is quite complex.

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Adult fleas live off the blood of the animal that they have infested. A female can lay as many as 50 small, white, round eggs per day and 500-600 eggs per month. The eggs are not sticky and fall off the animal onto carpets and bedding. The eggs may take between two days and several weeks to hatch, this depends on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. The larval stage may last from five to 18 days, this again is dependent on factors such as availability of food and environmental conditions.

Female Pharmacy customer: Hello, do you have anything that you can recommend for fleas in house pets?
PTA: Hello. There is a whole range of products that I could recommend.

Such as?
We have shampoos, flea powders, and so-called spot-on treatments. We also have flea collars and, I’m not quite sure, but I think we also have flea powders. Oh and a natural remedy containing citronella oil.

That is a lot!
Is it a dog or a cat that is infested?

My dog. He’s an Irish setter and they have long hair, which makes it even more difficult to treat. Don’t worry I’m sure we’ll find the right solution!

I hope so, the poor thing is going crazy from the fleas.
Luckily it’s a dog and not a cat. Cats are very difficult to shampoo, which is what I recommend as the first step.

Is shampooing enough?
Unfortunately not.

Oh, really. Why not?
You see, the effects of the shampoo only last a day or so and that might not be enough. You would have to take other steps to make sure that your dog doesn’t become re-infested.

Such as?
I recommend going outside and giving the dog a good combing. Then you should apply this spot-on product. It’s very effective and lasts up to a month.

That’s good. Is there anything else I can do?
If I were you, I would vacuum-clean and wash any carpets that your dog likes to sit on. You should also wash the dog’s bedding and anything else that he likes lying on. Does he sit on the furniture, you know couches, armchairs, anything with a covering?

No, he’s not allowed. I can understand washing his bedding, but why is it necessary to clean the carpets?
You see, flea eggs are not sticky like some other insect eggs and they simply roll off the animal. The eggs need certain conditions before they hatch: the right temperature, warm that is; and they need a certain amount of moisture.

Okay! Now I see why!
They could hatch in two days, or it might take them several weeks before these conditions are perfect. Your dog might not have fleas any longer, but if you don’t take the precaution of cleaning or disposing of anything that he comes into contact with, the whole process could start all over again.

I really didn’t give it a thought. I was sure that I could get a powder from the pharmacy and that would be that! Thank you so much!
Not at all, you’re welcome! Here are your purchases.

Thank you. Goodbye!
Bye, bye!

infest befallen
bedding Schlafstelle
hatch ausbrüten
environmental Umwelt
humidity Feuchtigkeit, Luftfeuchtigkeit
house pets Haustiere
remedy Medikament
apply auftragen
vacuum-clean staubsaugen
moisture Feuchtigkeit
precaution Vorsichtsmaßnahme
disposing of entsorgen
purchases Einkäufe

Den Artikel finden Sie auch in DIE PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 04/14 auf Seite 66.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker