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Fleas & ticks

Fleas and ticks

In Idaho, we generally talk about two common flea species, the dog flea and cat flea. Ctenocephalides felis — cat flea (most dog and cat fleas in Idaho are C. felis) and Ctenocephalides canis — dog flea. Of the two flea species, the cat flea is the most abundant species with the ability to survive longer and reproduce better on human blood than the dog flea. As both flea species make their way into the homes of unsuspecting pet owners, like you and me, life becomes wretched as our pets (and sometimes us) experience irritating bites and sometimes more disturbing symptoms such as tapeworms.

Ticks have long been pests of humans, domestic animals and wildlife in Idaho. They attach to a living host and feed on the host’s blood. In doing so, they may transmit disease-causing bacteria or viruses that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, both of which can have serious consequences for humans. This publication will help you identify the most common species of ticks found in Idaho and the diseases that they may transmit. It also describes ways you can protect yourself from ticks outdoors and control ticks in your home.

Types of ticks
The deer tick (Ixodes scapulars) is found mainly in the Eastern and upper Midwestern regions of the U.S. It can cause conditions like Lyme disease and babesiosis. The dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) is found in the Eastern half of the U.S. and can cause diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. There have been reports of dog ticks as far west as California. The lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum) lives in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the U.S. It carries diseases such as ehrlichiosis and Southern tick associated rash illness. Dogs and cats are very susceptible to fleas, but they can be protected. To prevent fleas on your pet:
  • Limit the amount of time your pet spends outdoors.
  • Limit contact with wild and stray animals.
  • Bathe and brush pets regularly.
  • Check for fleas regularly.
  • Fleas prefer warmer and more humid months, but if there is an animal to feed on, fleas can survive year-round.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about flea control products that are right for your pet.
  • Treat pets for fleas year-round in order to kill adult fleas and prevent new ones from hatching.
  • Always follow product instructions.
  • If you find a flea on your pet or in your home, contact us now.

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