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Doc Sez "Yes, YOUR house..."

Dr. Monfort Says “Yes, In YOUR House ” - Part 1

Kathy, the devoted client, (and owner of the cutest-dog-in-the-world) said to Dr. Monfort last week, “Doc, Cutest-dog-in-the-world is itching. She still has fleas even with my use of a world-class flea preventative.” Doc, being a man of few words, said, “You have fleas.” “I DO NOT have fleas.” Kathy replied “That fleastuff isn’t working.” Doc sighed (he does that sometimes), and said “I don’t mean you have fleas. I should have said that your house has fleas.” Once again Kathy got feisty. “My house does not have fleas. They are not jumping on me.”

So here’s the truth about fleas and our Southeast Kansas environment. Almost every house with pets will have an occasional flea in the house. All of our yards in SE Kansas are constantly exposed to flea-bearing wildlife, including squirrels, mice, rabbits, neighborhood cats and roaming dogs. These animals will continually bring new fleas into your environment, even if you are treating your yard routinely. A low-level infestation will exist outdoors, no matter what, until really cold weather. But treating your yard will keep that from becoming a “high-level” infestation. Your pet, as he or she, goes outdoors will occasionally pick up a flea, who will hitchhike into the house. If you are using a good flea product on your pet it will kill most fleas after a modest exposure within 40 minutes up to 12 hours. Until that flea dies, you may see a flea on your dog. The really good flea product will kill fastest and sterilize any flea eggs so they will not develop in the house.

If weather conditions are temperate, as they usually are in SE Kansas, and you are not treating your yard, thanks to the traveling wildlife, by autumn the original spring flea’s great-great-great-great grand fleas are partying down in your yard. Millions and millions of them. Hungry fleas who see your pet as meals-on-wheels. They will jump on for a bite and a ride into the house. (Fleas are also prone to jumping on white tennies and khaki pants for a ride into the house. And yes, fleas do have color preferences…but more on that next week.)

So, the word for this week is treat the yard, crawlspaces and pets routinely to keep flea infestations to a low-level. K-State Research and Extension can give you great advice on controlling fleas in those areas. Next column, we will talk about the actual “fleas in the house”.

Contact the veterinarians at the Red Barn Veterinary Service to create an effective flea cleanup program for your house and yard.

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