Protecting Your Pets from Fleas

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The warm weather is causing a rise in some unwanted pests.

Protecting your pets from fleas can in turn protect you from harmful parasites.

Dothan Animal Hospital Veterinarian Brad Harris says he's seen an increase in the number of pets with fleas.

Being a part of a flea free clinic, he says he knows the importance of getting the pesky pests off your pet.

"You can have dramatic results. Those dramatic results can include hair loss, skin infections, weight loss, especially in younger pets because fleas feed on blood," Dr. Harris said.

Fleas are a perennial problem across most of North America.

However, here in the southeastern part of the country, we must fight it year round.

And, with the warmer weather this year, the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association says the flea population is expected to grow dramatically this summer.

"People talk about brewers yeast. People talk about rock salt. Of course I'm not going to disagree with my clients. If they see effectiveness out of it, I'm all for it. But in so many cases, just doing that alone is not enough. An approach that covers more than just the pet: don't forget the house, don't forget the yard. It's the environment that has to be treated as well," adds Dr. Harris.

But, spraying for fleas in your yard or home or putting treatments on your animals can do more than just protect your pets. It can also protect you.

"Fleas are a known carrier of tapeworms, which can also be of human concern," Dr. Harris explains.

Dr. Harris says fleas tend to attract more to cats and dogs, but all pets are at risk.

The best way to treat your furry friend is to practice preventative medicine, and talk to your veterinarian.

According to the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, adult fleas can reproduce and have new adult fleas in just 12 days.

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