(Originally published July 22, 2022)
Just posting this story made me a little itchy, but, when it comes to most pets, discussing fleas is a necessary evil.
According to a press release from the Companion Animal Parasite Council, fleas are one of the most common external parasites in dogs and cats, and are more serious than most people realize with the potential to cause serious harm to the health of pets and their owners.
Also according to the release, in its mission to monitor and report emerging threats to companion animals, CAPC developed the Flea Forecasts to alert pet owners of flea activity in their local communities. These forecast maps are updated daily, based on environmental conditions, and can be found at PetDiseaseAlerts.org. The link also let you view the 30-Day Pet Parasite Forecast Maps that covers four parasitic diseases (Heartworm, Lyme, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis).
The CAPC Pet Parasite Forecast Maps are a collaborative effort from parasitologists and statisticians in leading academic institutions across the United States who engage in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor vector-borne disease agent transmission and changing life cycles of parasites. The forecasts are based on many factors including temperature, precipitation and population density.
Flea activity will continue to increase as temperatures rise. Fleas cause skin issues in pets, creating a lot of distress for them and their owners. The red, flaky skin caused by allergic reactions to fleas makes pets less cuddly and everyone is miserable.
Cats sleeping on your pillow or dogs snuggling in your bed can leaving behind flea eggs, flea maggots, and flea feces and that can, in turn, result in pets being banished from areas where their family members spend the most time.
Fleas may carry and transmit other dangerous diseases or parasites that affect pets, including Dipylidium caninum, a type of tapeworm and “Cat Scratch Fever.” This disease can infect both dogs and cats, as well as transmitted to humans when a cat carrying infected fleas scratches or bites a person. Although the symptoms are generally mild in humans, some people develop serious complications and require more rigorous treatment.
Keep calm and use preventative medication
The nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council stresses that year-round control is the best way to protect our pets from fleas and other harmful parasites and notes that it is important to keep all pets in a household on year-round flea preventive medication to prevent infestations. Pet owners should talk to their local veterinarian about the best method of prevention for their situations.
More about CAPC and Pet Disease Alerts:
Pet Disease Alerts (http://www.petdiseasealerts.org) is a nonprofit focused on alerting pet owners to the threat of pet diseases in their local areas. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (http://www.capcvet.org) is an independent not-for-profit foundation comprised of parasitologists, veterinarians, medical, public health and other professionals that provides information for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people.