Fleas and ticks on a biting spree

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SHERMAN, TX -- Pesky mosquitoes seem to be invading Texoma, but we're not the only ones getting bitten. Our pets are also suffering.
Veterinarians, groomers and exterminators all say they're staying busy this year.

Pets all across Texoma have a reason to be scratching. There are tons of fleas and ticks out there in our yards, and it's not because we've done anything wrong. You can blame it all on old man winter.

"We've seen more fleas on our patients for sure," said veterinarian, Dr. David Tidwell.

"At least 50 percent of the dogs that we see here, they do have fleas. It's just a constant battle for people," groomer Jennifer Mathews said.

With such a mild winter, experts say fleas and ticks never died. So, this year our pets are suffering.

"Along with the fleas being a nuisance, a lot of dogs are allergic to fleas. So, it causes a lot of skin issues, skin infections, hair loss and actual rashes," Dr. Tidwell said.

Dr. Tidwell said it is important to check your pets for fleas or ticks regularly.

"You're looking for two things. One is you're looking for movement, actually a flea moving, and you're also looking for some little brown dots. That's actaully the flea droppings after they've taken a meal. And if you see either of those then you know that there's been fleas there,"
Dr. Tidwell said.

When looking for ticks, look between your pet's toes and go over the skin when petting them, to make sure you don't feel something abnormal attached.

While there are plenty of treatments for your pet, you must go the extra mile.

"Only five percent of the flea lifecycle is on the pet. So, if you're only treating the pet and not treating the enviroment you're going to have a hard time controlling that pest in particular," Dr. Tidwell said.

One local exterminator said he's treating up to eight lawns per week because the pests are so bad this year.

With so many animals bringing them into her shop, groomer Jennifer Mathews has to take precautions.

"We use all natural sprays that's safe for the dogs, and just all the time. We don't want to send anybody home with fleas, or ticks as well," Mathews said.

Not only is it important to get the fleas and ticks taken care of for your pets, but ticks can carry diseases so it's important to protect yourself as well.

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