Fleas and Ticks Pester Pets and People

1 decade 1 year 3 months ago Thursday, March 29 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 7:46:39 PM CDT March 29, 2007 in News

"We had a very mild winter, with very few consecutive days of really freezing, cold weather, which generally would kill a lot of the insect eggs," explained Liz Graznek, tree and shrub specialist.

That means more fleas and ticks than usual this summer.

"Both of these parasites can cause an animal to be anemic," said Graznek. "It can lower the imune system. It can cause animals to become very, very ill if the infestation grows to a severe point."

When they latch onto your pet, ticks fill with the pet's blood before dropping off. Fleas infest the pet's body, lay eggs and use the pet as a food source. Flea infestations also can spread to your pet's home and to you. But, you can avoid parasite problems by checking pets after they have been outdoors. Ticks prefer shady, wooded areas, but fleas can be just about anywhere.

You also can try to pest-proof pets by keeping them indoors except when you walk them, limiting their contact with pests and with other animals that may have parasites.

Experts recommend checking with your veterinarian about flea and tick medicine because the wrong medicine can hurt pets. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes also can be dangerous to people, so wear insect repellent when you're outdoors and check your body for bites when you return indoors.

Reported by Bonney Bowman

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