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The first crisp bite of an apple, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the chilly air of a fall morning, the fleas, the ticks – fall is my favorite season. Wait a minute – did I say fleas and ticks? Just because it is fall and the weather will be changing does not mean that we can stop worrying about those pesky bugs. Fleas love fall too – August, September, and October are often the worst months for fleas. This is also the time of year when they can find places in your house to enjoy the winter months. That means that your pets still have to deal with the consequences, such as skin problems from allergies to the fleas, anemia both from blood loss and from blood parasites that can be carried by fleas and tapeworms.
Did you know that a flea can live for four to six weeks? During that time the females can lay thousands of eggs to perpetuate the infestation in your house. Moral of the story – don’t stop using your flea medications just because it’s getting closer to winter. If you have had a flea problem this year, continue using the products through the winter to kill any fleas that may hatch inside your house in the colder months.
Ticks can also survive through the winter, and you may see more through the fall as well because of increased activity of the deer and other animals that are hosts for the ticks. Most everyone is aware of Lyme disease caused by ticks. While the common signs of Lyme disease in animals are lameness, fever, and lethargy, in some animals the kidneys are affected, which can be life-threatening. Remember to vaccinate your dogs for Lyme disease (to this point, no one has found a cat affected by Lyme disease) and to continue your tick prevention. Testing annually for Lyme disease is also a good idea. Ticks carry other disease as well, such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. You also don’t want your pets carrying ticks into your house to attach to your family.
Did you know that one tick can lay 3000 eggs in her lifetime? That is a lot of little tiny bugs running around and feeding from the blood of ourselves and our pets.
In honor of the flea – oops I mean fall! – season, Lakemont Veterinary Clinic is decreasing prices on all sizes of Frontline Plus. We want you to continue to protect your pets from these pests. Call or email us for details, or just stop in to pick up your supply. Ask us about other options if you are looking for something different – we also have Nexgard, a monthly pill to kill fleas and ticks. Happy fall – I’m off to look for fresh apple cider. Might be a bit early, but never hurts to check!
Denise Nickodemus, DVM