Drought to blame for flea infestation

HOUSTON Lilly has never had a problem with fleas before, but her owner Pardis Baha says this year is different.

"Just about three days ago, and just this weekend, I found fleas on one of my dogs," Baha said.

She is now planning a trip to a pet store to get Lilly and her friends on a flea treatment program. The flea problem is not limited to Lilly.

Veterinarian Mike Huddleston says dogs that get just a few fleas can have a nasty reaction. Huddleston says he is seeing more pets suffering from fleas this year than ever before.

He said, "I bet I see four cases a day sometimes, that's a lot."

The reason for the increase in fleas can be traced to the drought.

Raleigh Jenkins with ABC Home and Commercial Services explained, "With irrigation systems going off in yards, wildlife is starting to come into your yard, wildlife that probably has a flea problem."

Jenkins says animals like squirrels and opossums are on the move because of the dry weather. If you have pets, keeping them on a flea treatment regime is one way to keep the tiny insects from gaining a foothold in our yard.

"Give them the pill, give them the drop on the dog or pet," Jenkins said. "People are forgetting and they are not putting that on their animals so they are starting to get flea problems they never have before."

For those without pets, treating your yard can also help control the flea population. A professional treatment costs about $125, but you can also do it yourself.

Jenkins advised, "Make sure before you do that you understand what you are using and how you are applying it and don't just blindly grab it. Read the label to make sure it is appropriate for the insect you are after and the site you are applying that chemical to."

Flea problems are not limited to one area of town, so if your dog or cat starts itching, check them thoroughly.

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