Updated 10/23/2012 10:35 AM
Bad flea and tick season
Summer is over, but fleas and ticks are still out in full swing, just waiting for your furry friends. That means you still need to take precautions to keep your animals safe. Our Katie Gibas tells us just how bad this season has been and what you can do to protect your pet.
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STATEWIDE -- If you've noticed more fleas and ticks on your pets, you're not alone. Veterinarians said it's one of the worst years ever for the pests.
"It's pretty bad. I'm seeing a lot more animals that are coming in with the ticks and a lot more animals that are testing positive for the diseases that they carry," said Dr. Deanna Rodriguez, a veterinarian.
Not only has this year been extremely bad, but veterinarians said the problem is only getting worse, as the fleas and ticks migrate westward.
"The concern is that when there's a rise in the fleas and ticks, our pets start to be uncomfortable. We see skin issues. We can see anemia and the weakening of our pets, and we also get other diseases like Lyme Disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma," said Rodriguez.
Experts say the reason for the uptick in fleas and ticks was last year's mild winter.
"If we do have a winter that's not as cold, like last year's winter, we're behind the eight ball. We're always going to have those parasites within the environment. And then we forget to treat. And then the animal is completely vulnerable and so are we," said Rodriguez.
So don't be fooled by the cool weather because fleas and ticks are still out in full force. And you want to make sure to take a number of steps to protect your pet, including using a topical flea and tick medicine.
"Topical preventatives are the best. Aside from that, always combing your animal through at the end of the evening or go ahead, look at their face. Wash their bedding regularly in hot water. And you want to vacuum your house ideally, every single day," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said to make sure you protect your indoor pets too because fleas and ticks can be carried in on people, other pets, and through your doors and windows.
Topical flea medicines should be applied every three to four weeks. The veterinarian we spoke with warns against using Hartz or Sergeant brands because she's seen a number of adverse reactions. Instead, she suggested choosing Frontline or Advantage.