We have fleas!
An error in pet care made by many pet owners is discontinuing flea control and flea prevention during the cool months of the year.
Fleas love that time of year, and why wouldn’t they? Cool breezes, moderate temperatures, pets going in and out of the house all day long. It’s a perfect life.
In the “great frozen north” pet lovers don’t have to worry about fleas when there is snow on the ground and the ground itself is frozen two feet deep.
Those of us who live in the southeastern US, though, have winter only on our calendars, not in our yards. Even if we have several 20-degree days through the winter, they are always followed by wet, warm days.
A flea’s biggest enemy is not cold, but dessication. Drying out from low humidity is effective in killing adult fleas as well as pre-adult stages. However, in the Deep South, we don’t know what low humidity is!
Therefore, in the absence of both cold and dry, our fleas thrive year-round.
The concept of year-round flea control was brought to mind again this morning when “Junior” came in with a lesion typical of Flea Bite Allergy (FBA) and quite a few fleas crawling on him. It turns out that while Junior had been
getting his heartworm preventive all winter, his owner had eliminated his flea control and flea prevention during the cooler months. Given that one bite from one flea can stimulate FBA patients to be itchy for up to a week, you can quickly see how the several fleas we saw (and all the ones we didn’t see, hiding in Junior’s hair) were able to make him really miserable.
In today’s pet climate, in which most pets are family and spend much of their day indoors, it is extremely easy to understand how fleas can overwinter. When it starts to get cold outside we fire up the heater, making conditions comfy for us as well as for our pets and their fleas. Indoors, fleas have plenty of places to hide, allow their eggs to hatch and protect their larval stages. Every time your pet passes by they can get a free meal and hang out until they are hungry again.
Even if your pet isn’t affected by Flea Bite Allergy he doesn’t need the annoyance of fleas. Fleas can also cause anemia as they feed on your pet’s blood. The flea is the intermediate host of certain tapeworms, a further nuisance to your pet.
Ask your pet’s doctor whether Revolution is an appropriate heartworm preventive for your pet. It is available for both dogs and cats, and is not only an excellent heartworm preventive, but is also very effective in both control and prevention of fleas by killing the adult flea, the eggs and larvae. Revolution makes it easy to maintain a flea-killing program all year long.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.