Vets say it's going to be a bad year for fleas - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Vets say it's going to be a bad year for fleas

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Local veterinarians say recent wet weather and warm temperatures make a breeding ground not only for mosquitos and gnats, but fleas, too.

Veterinarian Robert Reich says fleas can hitchhike in to your yard from other animals and make themselves at home on your pet.

Dr. Reich says that once fleas invade, it takes at least three months to completely get rid of them, so he says it's important to get started before the problem gets worse.

"Flea dermatitis allergies is one of the biggest problems with pets in the summer," said Reich. "One flea bite and the pet will itch and dig areas of their skin raw. If a pet has allergies to anything else flea bites will make it worse."

Even if you don't see fleas on your pet, Reich says they can still be present.

"You need to prevent them rather than get to the point where they're infested," said Reich. "You need to treat every pet. You need to recognize the signs and symptoms of flea problems."

Reich says your pet may have fleas if they're itching or biting themselves more than they normally do.

As people doctor Joseph Kim says, those pesky critters can get under your skin, too.

"They bite on the skin and that causes local irritations or a rash that's associated with it," said Kim. "But what happens is, physiologically the flea will inject some of their proteins in their bite and that causes a histamine release and swelling ."

Kim says while it can be uncomfortable, it is a very minor condition that can be cleared up pretty quickly with topical ointments and Benadryl.

Reich says prevention is the best way to avoid a flea problem.

Both topical and oral medications are now available.

If your pet has fleas, Reich says to be sure treat every pet in the house to ensure you are completely getting rid of problem or they might just go on to the next pet.

Reich says over-the-counter medications are no match for preventative treatment done at the vet with stronger medications.

He also says that over time, fleas become immune to medications that may have previously worked.

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