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Spring is invasion time

Thursday, April 19, 2001

Spring is a wonderful time of year and it is especially welcome after the tough winter we have had!

However, in the dog world it is also invasion time! With temperatures warming, conditions are just right for an unwelcome invasion of fleas and ticks.

Fleas are nasty little creatures. They can travel rapidly through animal hair and are extremely tough to pick them off your dog - even if you get them stopped, the fleas' legs have tiny hooks that allow them to stick like velcro! Fleas can survive for months without eating and can be frozen for months and still recover. They can jump nearly 150 times their own body length!

Fleas are very irritating, both to animals and to humans. They do not have teeth but they have piercing mouth parts that cut into the skin of their "victim." If allowed to stay on your pet one flea can consume up to 15 times its own body weight in a single day. Then when the fleas take a rest from drinking blood, they leave a bit of their own saliva behind as they pull out of the animal. This is what makes flea bites itch.

Fleas can bother your dog with more than allergies and itchy skin. If a flea swallowed by your pet contains tapeworm larvae, the dog may get tapeworms. Other diseases may also be transmitted by the fleas.

The average life span of a flea is about six weeks and during that time a female can produce more than 600 eggs. That means that just one flea can produce enough eggs to infest many dogs, even your entire house.

Read the rest of this article in the 4/19/01 Pilot Tribune.