Pro flea & tick fighting tip: Don’t bank on the winter to kill off fleas & ticks.
While it is true that you see fewer fleas & ticks during the wintertime, your preventive care shouldn’t change season-to-season. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that deer ticks – carriers of Lyme disease - may come out the other side of cold winter storms. So, if you thought you were entering the fall pest-free, think again. In fact, September is the 2nd highest flea & tick month, so now is the time to be extra vigilant.
The Threat of Lyme Disease.
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne illnesses. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi andtransmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick. Since 2009, the prevalence of Lyme disease in dogs has spiked, and the disease doesn’t stop there. Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans as well. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 300,000 Americans get Lyme disease each year!
According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), canine diagnostic testing for tick-borne disease agents is on the rise, and so are clinics testing for them. As a result, the threat of Lyme disease is forecasted to continue to expand westward, beyond its traditional stomping grounds of the upper Midwest and Northeast.
Fleas: Small Bite, Big Impact.
Like ticks, fleas can spread diseases that affect pets and humans. Unfortunately for us and our pets, changes in climate and weather patterns aid flea life cycles, leading to longer seasons with fleas present.
Have you ever experienced a flea infestation? If not, consider yourself lucky.
Especially with 64% of dogs sharing their bed with their owner, you really don’t want to share the bed with fleas too. And with the number of multi-pet households increasing, so does the opportunity for flea infestation. Flea infestations begin long before even a flea is visible. In fact, active adults make up only about 5% of an infestation, meaning that 95% of the fleas lurking around your pet, home, and yard are pre-adults. Makes you question if you’re ever truly alone, huh?
Diseases caused or spread via fleas include: (Trigger Warning!)
- Flea Tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum): Flea tapeworm is a common tapeworm found in dogs and cats and occasionally in humans, particularly children. Symptoms typically include mild weight loss and itching around the anal area caused by passing tapeworm segments.
- Flea allergy dermatitis: FAD is one of the most frequent causes of skin conditions in small animals and a major clinical issue in dogs and cats. Symptoms include rashes and swelling along with self-trauma due to excessive scratching and licking. Prolonged exposure can lead to chronic lesions, infection, and changes in skin structure.
So, how can you win the war against fleas and ticks while keeping your pet and family safe?Although fall and winter bring temperature and seasonal weather changes, it’s important to continue protecting your pet and family year-round from these pests and the diseases they spread! So by the next 21st night of September, you can remember it fondly – flea & tick-free.