Feisty Fleas Pestering Pets

Feisty Fleas Pestering Pets

It's information that will make you scratch your head...and the rest of your body, for that matter: many Texoma pets this summer are infested with fleas.
"We definitely have seen an increase of the number of animals arriving at the shelter with fleas, and the fleas seem a little more aggressive than what we're used to seeing," said Animal Care Coordinator of the Wichita Falls Animal Services Center, Nancy Springer.
These pests can wreak havoc on your pet and property, especially if they lay eggs in your home and yard. Normally fleas spend most of the time off of an animal, but Springer says this year, these fleas are particularly stubborn and are staying latched on your pet. 
Generally there are a few areas on your pet that you want to check for the bugs.
"On the back near the tail, on the belly on the underside," Springer said. "And we're even seeing them pretty severe on some of the animal's faces."
So, what are the signs your pet has fleas? One thing to look for is flea dirt: the little black specks on the haircoat against the animal's skin. 

If your pet is allergic to fleas, it could develop the more serious flea allergy: Dermatitis. The animal will itch profusely on their back right above the tail, and some will unfortunately chew themselves up. 
So, you've found fleas. What are some solutions? 
"As far as your pet goes, there are shampoos, there are sprays, there are oral medications, and topical spot on products," Springer said.
When treating your pet, be careful. Springer says if you're trying to save money, some cheaper products on the market have been known to give your pet chemical burns.
She says to talk to your vet, because there are plenty of prescription medications and over-the-counter solutions that work just fine. 

Often times, fleas won't just stick on your dog or cat, and you'll have to deal with a flea infestation in your home and yard. Officials recommend treating your home and yard every two to three weeks, until the fleas finally flee.
Another issue with fleas is tapeworms, which dogs and cats can pick up if they ingest an adult flea, and can put you and your pet through another ordeal.

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6