Horrible summer for fleas, Portland vets say

Horrible summer for fleas, Portland vets say

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by Keely Chalmers

Bio | Email | Follow: @KeelyChalmers

kgw.com

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 6:31 PM

PORTLAND -- Pet owners beware: Veterinarians say this is one of the worst summers they've seen for pets trying to keep away the fleas.

When Zach Lyon brings his dog to the park, he’s aware some of the other dogs may have fleas. Even with treatment, his pup got fleas earlier this season.

“We used Frontline, but apparently it just wasn't enough," he said. "They're just so horrid here in Oregon.”

And if anyone knows how horrid fleas can get, it's him. Eight years ago they attacked more than just his pet.

“I had a whole apartment infested and I remember it being awful, and going so far as to just having to move out,” he explained.

This season many veterinarians say the problem is much worse.

Aletha Carson, lead veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital's West Hills' Clinic, says the flea increase is the result of a long, wet spring.

“Oregon is the worst state in the country for fleas in cats, and tied for third for dogs,” she said.

An unusually early flea outbreak this year prompted the Lexi Dog Day Care in the Pearl District to make absolutely sure each dog that came in was flea-free.

“We send out a notice to the parents to let them know to make sure they're being really up-to-date on their flea prevention,” said manager Mikki Davis.

But what if your dog already has fleas?

Carson said there are a lot of good treatments out there for your pet, but make sure you read the directions. Using them incorrectly can be dangerous.

And when it comes to your home, she warns if you see one flea there are likely going to be a lot more.

“By the time you’re seeing that one flea, they've laid million of eggs around your house,” she explained.

Carson said you can use the natural or chemical treatments, but your best bet is to wash your pets bedding in hot water and vacuum a lot.  Make sure you throw away your vacuum bag outside, because the fleas can crawl out.

Carson says it takes about three months to get the tiny pests under control.

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