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Fleas unwelcome visitors in the fall for pet owners

I was talking to my co-worker friend who was dealing with a bad bout of scratching with her one dog.

We thought the poor guy had hot spots developing so she took him to be examined by our vet. Turns out he is being bothered by fleas.

Fleas? In the fall? I was kind of caught off guard with the verdict, too.

According to revival

animal.com, in most areas, fall is the worst season for fleas.

Dr. Michael Dryden, professor of veterinary parasitology in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, calls it “the fall flea surge.”

Dryden discovered that the number of fleas on animals in the fall was 70% higher than in the spring.

He theorized that the “flea surge” occurs because in the fall there is generally an increase in precipitation and the temperatures stay around 70 degrees. Fleas thrive in these conditions.

In fact, in the fall, pet owners tend to believe that their flea prevention program isn’t working because the fleas are so abundant.

In my co-worker’s case, she re-started her flea and tick meds immediately and the vet said within eight hours the little buggers should be gone.

Using flea treatment on cats however can be a tad tricky. Definitely work with your vet to use it correctly.

Cats can ONLY tolerate cat-approved flea medications and it must be the proper dose since it is absorbed through the skin.

Don’t forget: A cat’s entire system is completely different than a dog’s and much more sensitive to any topical applications.

Give your vet’s office a call and ask them what they recommend and the proper way to apply the medication.

It is also important to remember that in order to effectively eliminate fleas, you must treat the environment as well as the pet, according to revival

animal.com.

This includes the carpet, furniture, beds and yards.

Dryden also notes that home infestations occurring in the fall may exceed those in spring. Flea eggs that have fallen off the pet eventually hatch into larvae.

Since larvae do not like light, they burrow down into the carpet or into fabric fibers where they remain for the next seven to 14 days, preparing to become pupae.

Pupae are protected by a cocoon that the larvae spin, and they remain dormant until the conditions are right for the adult flea to emerge.

The hatch can be stimulated by vibration such as vacuuming, walking or running, changes in light, carbon dioxide or the ideal temperature.

Temperatures above 85 degrees encourage the dormant state, but when the temperature hovers around 70 degrees, fleas will begin hatching in very large numbers. They can live in a warm house all year round.

And, in the fall, pets begin getting their winter coats making them ideal homes for fleas to feed and breed.

The thicker coat also makes it more difficult to groom fleas off. Time to call your vet and get your flea talk!

Amy is the author of the new children’s book “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as “Have Dog Will Blog.” She also is editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna

@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.

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