Brutal flea season caused by spring rains

Brutal flea season caused by spring rains

Lawton, Okla._For many pet owners, this summer's flea season may seem worse than years past.

Local veterinarian Dr. Larry Chambers said it's true. That's because the rainy month of May created an optimal breeding ground for the pests, which has resulted in more flea-ridden pets than he's seen in years.

Adult fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day, which means in just a few weeks you could have an exponential problem.

Dr. Larry Chambers of Chambers Veterinary Clinic said he thought past years had been bad for fleas.

"We've seen a lot more dogs and cats with flea issues this year," Dr. Chambers said.

He said since the ground has dried up from the spring rain, the fleas have been using your pets as a transit system to the inside of your home.

"You're having these fleas reproduce outside due to the nice environmental factors and then once they move inside. If you're not real careful you have a nice environment in there too because you got perfect temperature and moisture," Dr. Chambers said.

Dr. Chambers said the best way to protect your pet is to start with the animal itself. He recommends things like oral medication, shampoos, and topical treatments.

"Give them time to work, usually about 12 hours. Give them time to work and get them off the animal."

Then, the second line of defense is treating your pet's environment.

"Understand that if your dog lays in the same spot all the time and it's kind of in a darkened area, and it's a cool area and there's a little bit of moisture in there, those fleas are going to survive in that area right there," Dr. Chambers said.

That goes for other dark and cool areas in your home as well, and he said there are several products on the market that can be used in or outside and will kill fleas and any other pests that may be plaguing your home.

If left untreated your pet could be at risk for skin infections, worms and in severe cases anemia, so it's important to regularly check your animal for fleas.

"Look for some really black dark spots in there which is just the fecal matter. They make combs like this, that you comb them with and as you comb the animal if there's fleas or flea dirt it shows up in the comb there."

If not you may become flea food.

"If you're living in your home and getting fleas on you, I guarantee you have a tremendous flea problem in your house."

Dr. Chambers said if you are able to tackle the flea problem in your home and prevent them from feeding on your pets, your home will be safe even if your neighbors don't take the same precautions. He also suggested using a monthly flea medication to keep your pet healthy.