The Grand Valley is popular for its outdoor activities, but before you step outside, be careful of a potential problem that could cause serious health issues for your pet.
Like many people in the grand valley, Sandy McFarland likes to hike. It's good exercise for her and her dogs. But just the other day when hiking one of her favorite trails she ran into a frightening situation. "My dog stuck its head in a gopher hole and there must have been an animal in there because when she pulled her head out it was covered with fleas."
Like many people in the area, she didn't know there was fleas in Colorado, and more cases are popping up all over. Aimee Johnson, a vet at Creature Comforts says, "I have seen fleas, I've had three cases in the last three weeks." Fleas thrive on the blood of animals and they can survive almost anywhere. Most rodents carry fleas like rats, rabbits and prairie dogs. Pets can come in contact with these animals or with their habitat and carry the fleas home with them and they cause some severe problems. They carry the bubonic plague which your pet can get and then transfer to you.
Most dogs are allergic to flea bites and cause them to scratch excessively which causes rashes and it can even get worse for some smaller dogs. Aimee says, "They can actually suck a little animal dry of its own blood." If they get into your home they are very difficult to get rid of because of the flea's multiple growth stages. Rodney Oberbroeckling of Jerry's Pest Control says, "chemicals won't work while fleas are in the cocoon you have to have something down when they hatch," and it can take multiple treatments to kill all the fleas.
If you find yourself in this situation the first thing you need to do is call your vet. "Over the counter products do not work and can be dangerous for your pets." says Aimee Johnson. Once your pet is treated then you can check your home, vacuum all areas especially ones you pet has access to and wash their bedding.
But the best defense is prevention, because a simple once a month treatment can save you money and a very big headache in the long run.