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Be Aware of Dog Fleas This Summer

A pet healthcare organisation in the United States is warning dog owners to be on the look out for flea and tick infestations on pets this Summer.

"Ticks are active much earlier this year compared to last year," said entomologist Ron Harrison, Ph.D. and Orkin technical services director. "I don't know that we're necessarily seeing any more ticks than in previous years, but because of the mild winter, we are seeing them earlier than normal. The flea increase could be because of any number of reasons.

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Some studies have shown they are becoming resistant to on-pet treatment methods; it could also be because fleas are associated with rodents and other wildlife, which did not die off this year, thanks to the mild temperatures. Another reason could be the changing treatment methods. Before, pet owners had to take their pets to their veterinarians for flea treatment, but now over-the-counter products leave more room for pet owners to make improper applications."

"Fleas don't transmit any serious diseases, but they are the only source of tapeworm," said entomologist and University of Georgia professor Nancy C. Hinkle, Ph. D. "An infected flea can pass on tapeworm if a dog or cat happens to swallow a flea while using its teeth to scratch, but the tapeworm is not transmitted if the flea only bites the dog. Some animals are also highly sensitive to flea saliva, which can lead to secondary infections and dermatitis from incessant itching."

Fleas commonly attach themselves to dogs and cats, but they can also be found on chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice and other domesticated or wild animals.

"Flea infestations require several treatment plans at once," said Harrison. "Addressing only a pet's infestation or individual flea bites will not rid your home of fleas. Your pet's treatment must be done at the same time your pest control professional treats your home, but be sure to consult a veterinarian before starting any flea treatment."

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