Pet owners, here in Southern California, are itching to find the answer to the question, “Where have all the fleas come from?”
Even with the many flea prevention products on the market today, fleas are again, emerging as a major pest and the reason seems to be drought related.
Feral animals that would normally live in the hills, canyons and scrub country, are being driven, by the lack of water, food and shelter, in their normal habitats, into urban areas where these life sustaining necessities are plentiful. Coyotes, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossums and especially rats and mice are dropping off their fleas as they set up residence in or just pass through our yards, parks and green belts. Almost all warm blooded animals have a flea that prefers it over other hosts. For example, rats are bringing with them not only the rat flea but the sticktight flea which is not normally found on domestic cats and dogs but will feast on them nonetheless.
Yes, the itching and scratching is annoying and frequent scratching and biting by an animal can cause hair loss and anemia, in extreme cases, but the dangers of disease from these tiny critters is terrifying. Fleas carry and transmit plague, hantavirus, murine typus, tapeworms, and other nasty viruses and bacteria. One bright light in this gloomy saga is that, according to the CDC, fleas do not carry or transmit HIV/Aids. http://search.cdc.gov/search?query=Transmission+and+fleas&utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=cdc-main
What can be done to protect our pets and our homes from these bloodsucking insects? A lot! If you are already using a topical flea treatment on your pets and are still having flea issues, talk to your veterinarian, about switching products. Topical and internal products do not stop fleas from being in your yard or where you walk your dog or where your cat roams, so fleas can still hop on and take a ride right into your house. Consider treating your yard on a regular basis and remove anything that provides harborage for rats or other feral animals. Here is a link to help you be as flea free as possible: www.corkyspest.com/fleas/index.html
Let us know how you are doing in the fight against fleas and what is working best for you.