ALERT: Disease Danger Up this Fall and Winter

Ah, fall.

Temperatures drop, tree leaves turn bright colors and Halloween and Thanksgiving are almost upon us. Best of all, we don’t have to worry about things like fleas and ticks anymore.

(Insert sound of needle ripping off of record here!)

Wrong.

While you’re not alone in believing this, it’s a dangerous error that can put your pet – and potentially your family – at risk.

That’s especially true this year, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), a national non-profit group that monitors parasite risks to both pet health and human health. Because they prepare the national Fall Parasite Forecast annually, they’re known as an authority on where – and how severely – seasonal outbreaks are likely to occur.

This year’s parasite forecast isn’t good news. Increased risk for Lyme disease, spread by several varieties of ticks, is one reason why. The CAPC has raised the risk in multiple areas across the U.S., and reports that the risk of disease is also traveling southward, to areas where Lyme disease was rare or unheard of previously, such as the Southeast and Midwest. In addition, they also report a high risk of Erlichiosis, another tickborne disease and Anaplasmosis. Check out these maps of tick disease risk from CAPC to see if you’re at risk.

Why all the doom and gloom as cooler temperatures are upon us? Don’t fleas and ticks just die off during cold winter months? Quite the opposite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They report that the adult tick is actually most active from October through March. Since adult ticks are the ones that spread disease, it’s easy to understand why veterinarians and pet advocates are trying to educate pet parents to keep monthly flea and tick treatment current all 12 months of the year.

Fleas don’t magically disappear when fall and winter roll in, either, says veterinarian and former CAPC executive Dr. Mike Paul. Dr. Paul explains how fleas find safe harbor and continue to thrive – and bite and spread disease – all year long. “Fleas are amazingly hardy pests that, in their immature stages, can survive the most challenging conditions. They also have an amazing ability to infest locations where the environment is more hospitable, such as places where animals are housed, areas protected from cold (crawl spaces and under porches), upholstered furniture in homes and even interiors of automobiles. In short, fleas are everywhere and must be controlled the year around.”

So now your skin is crawling and you’re paranoid that your Thanksgiving guests will be reaching down to fend off flea bites more than reaching across for another helping. But not to worry. With the right precautions, you can protect your pets, your family and your houseguests from flea and ticks. All it takes is being diligent with your monthly flea and tick preventative treatments. Using a once-a-month treatment like Fiproguard MAX, you can be sure that fleas and ticks – whether brought in from outside or lurking in the warm confines of your home this fall and winter – won’t have a chance.

 

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