Parasite Problems

Its summer time and the parasites are running free, especially the fleas and ticks.

What can you do?

In today’s world we are so fortunate to have all the new topical remedies to use on our cats and dogs.

There are many things you can do to prevent a flea or tick infestation in your home and yard.

Most of us associate ticks with wooded areas and can’t imagine them lurking in our yard, but it is possible.

Ticks like fleas love warm, moist and dark organic matter. Piles of grass clippings, branches, and leaves make a perfect breeding ground for both critters.

If ticks are a problem in your area, keep your lawn mowed, store wood in an area that will remain dry, remove tall grasses and brush from around your house and yard.

If you live in an area where deer and other wild animals frequent your yard discourage them as best you can.

The advantage in using the current topical flea and tick preventatives is that they kill the fleas relatively quickly and they loosen a tick’s hold on your pet and they eventually drop off.

A infected tick, in order to cause Lyme Disease, has to remain attached for at least 48 hours to its host.

A good way to check your yard for fleas and possible ticks is to put on a pair of white socks and walk around your yard for a while in areas your cat or dog frequent. Just be sure not to wear them in the house should you find any.

Hard floors such as tile or wood flooring discourage fleas as there are not any places to snuggle in and stay safe. Carpet with thick pile is a wonderful nesting place for the critters.

Frequent vacuuming of your carpet and furniture will help, sometimes steam cleaning the carpet is the only answer.

The interesting thing is you can have fleas in your home even if you do not have a pet. Fleas love warm breathing bodies and you can pick them up just going for a walk in a grassy area.

Fleas and ticks, along with making our pets itch and scratch, can be the cause of skin problems and other illnesses. Cats and dogs can get anemia and tapeworms.

Flea can pass Bartonella to cats, which is the organism that can cause cat scratch fever in humans. The fleas pick it up from an infected cat and pass it along to another cat.

The use of current topical medications for fleas and ticks is a big help in keeping our pets almost flea free; remember there is no product that works 100 percent. With that in mind keep your pets bedding, favorite “blankies” and throw rugs washed. Use hot water and a high dryer setting when cleaning these fabrics.

As an added precaution be certain to use only flea products made for dogs on dogs and flea products made for cats on cats, do not use dog products on your cat. Products made with the ingredient permethrin can be fatal to cats. Some cats can handle low doses, but do not take the chance.

If you use a product containing permethrin on your dog keep the dog away from the cat for a day or two and by no means let the cat near the dog if the dog is wet from the product.

For more information on the life cycle of these critters and some home remedies read fleas on my website.

The Hartz Mountain Corporation did a study back in 2002 of 100 cities ranking them in order of their flea and tick population. Here is a list of the top 20 cities:

West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, Fl Ft. Lauderdale, Fl New Orleans, La Mobile, AL Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fl Baton Rouge, La Sarasota/Bradenton, Fl Houston, Tx Orlando, Fl Charleston, NC Miami, Fl Jacksonville, Fl Honolulu Birmingham, Al Atlanta, Ga Memphis, Tenn. Nashville, Tenn. Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, SC McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Tx Little Rock, Ark