Fending off fleas: Why pet owners are seeing more of the pesky parasites

Rose is happy to be flea free after her mom spent months getting rid of the pesky parasites. (KXAN Photo)
Rose is happy to be flea free after her mom spent months getting rid of the pesky parasites. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Beautiful weather this spring means a lot of outdoor time for cats and dogs, but Central Texas pet owners say they seem to be picking up more fleas even with protection.

Westlake Animal Hospital was not shocked when KXAN reached out about the topic.

“When you called me I was writing an email to a client talking to her about fleas and how it’s been such a bad flea year,” said Ashley Opyt, D.V.M.

A mild winter, quite a bit of rain and heat and humidity are helping the insects thrive.

“When the flea lays an egg it takes anywhere from three to six or eight weeks for the egg to hatch, and that’s going to be sped up when it’s hotter and more humid,” said Dr. Opyt.

It’s the last thing Chrissy Hammond wants to hear.

“Last year around this time I had a flea infestation,” said Hammond. “I was caring for another dog, and my cat unfortunately did not have a [flea] collar on.”

Her Golden Retriever, Rose, ended up with the pesky parasites. Hammond says it took a good four to six months to get them out of her home.

“It’s a nightmare and a half — I mean, they get in floor cracks, in furniture, everything,” said Hammond.

Dogs and cats can be easy to treat, and pet owners have choices. Dr. Opty recommends a proactive prescription medication you can use consistently to fend off fleas year-round.

Oral tablets tend to have a longer effect versus topical medications that can to wear off over time.

Hammond has opted for two forms of defense — a flea collar and a prescription tablet she gives Rose every month because she never wants to deal with fleas again.

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