Fleas disrupt human-animal bond, carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans; year-round protection recommended to prevent infestations; CAPC's daily Flea Forecasts on PetDiseaseAlerts.org monitor local flea activity across the country
SALEM, Ore., June 2, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) — the nation's leading source on parasitic diseases that threaten the health of pets and people — is forecasting heightened flea activity in Chicago, Illinois, and surrounding areas for June 2022. Fleas, one of the most common external parasites in dogs and cats, are more serious than most people realize with the potential to cause serious harm to the health of pets and their owners. Flea infestations not only disrupt the human-animal bond, but also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
"Even though fleas prefer to feed on pets, people are not immune from receiving their irritating and sometimes disease-spreading bites," said Dr. Rick Marrinson, DVM, and CAPC board member. "The new Flea Forecasts at PetDiseaseAlerts.org are designed to alert pet owners and veterinarians where fleas are currently most active across the United States."
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- Flea Forecast in Illinois – June 2022
One of the most common external parasites of dogs and cats, fleas not only cause a variety of pesky problems, including allergic reactions and discomfort, they can also be a source of disease in both pets and humans. Analysis of the Flea Forecasts shows that flea activity has moved into the Greater Chicago metro, surrounding areas and throughout the Midwest regions this month. Movement of oranges and yellows from the South into the Midwest region, show increasing flea activity moving northward as the weather warms up. Flea activity will continue to increase as summer temperatures rise. However, fleas are not limited to warm months. Infestations in the home and outbreaks can occur year-round due to fleas' ability to continue their life cycle indoors
- Why Should Pet Owners Be Concerned?
More than ever before, pets have become integral members of the family, providing emotional support and comfort to their human companions. Fleas, the most common external pet parasite, can negatively impact the bond between pets and their owners if not controlled. Fleas are often a primary motivator for veterinary visits. Itchy, scratchy dogs keeping their owners up at night is a common complaint at veterinary practices. Fleas cause skin issues in pets, creating a lot of distress for them and their owners. The red, flaky skin caused by allergic reactions to fleas makes pets less cuddly and everyone is miserable.
Cats sleeping on your pillow or dogs snuggling in your bed can leaving behind flea eggs, flea maggots, and flea feces. That creates a high "ick-factor" for pet owners and results in pets being banished from areas where their family members spend the most time.
Pet owners associate fleas with itching and scratching, but there other serious reasons for concern. Fleas, while irritating, may carry and transmit other dangerous diseases or parasites that affect pets. Some of these diseases are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted from animals to humans. For instance, Dipylidium caninum, a type of tapeworm, is a parasite transmitted through ingestion of an infected flea. The tapeworms mature to adults in the intestinal tract and their egg packets are the worm-like segments that are shed in feces. While the disease caused by this tapeworm is generally mild and easily treated, it can be unpleasant for pet owners to see the egg packets in their pet's stool. Humans may also become infected if they ingest an infected flea, making children especially more likely to become infected with Dipylidium. Another disease transmitted by fleas is "Cat Scratch Fever." This disease can infect both dogs and cats, as well as transmitted to humans when a cat carrying infected fleas scratches or bites a person. Although the symptoms are generally mild in humans, some people develop serious complications and require more rigorous treatment.
If not prevented, all of these scenarios present the potential to ruin the relationship between pets and their people.
- What Should Pet Owners Do?
The nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council stresses that year-round control is the best way to protect our pets from fleas and other harmful parasites – and to keep homes flea-free. Although fleas are more likely to be a problem during warmer months, they can cause problems during cooler months due to their ability to live indoors. It's important to keep all pets in a household on year-round flea preventive medication to prevent infestations. If an infestation already exists, treating bedding and all areas where your pets regularly inhabit is also critical to success.
Flea infestations can take months to bring under control once established. And, fleas don't discriminate: Every pet in the home must be treated year-round with a flea control product to achieve success. It's far easier to prevent fleas than to treat them. Also, it is important to note that fleas are not just seasonal parasites due to their ability to survive in challenging conditions. In short, fleas are everywhere, and year-round prevention is the best option for keeping pets parasite-free and families healthy. Pet owners should talk to their local veterinarian about the best method of prevention for their situations.
CAPC encourages pet owners and veterinarians to regularly consult the Flea Forecasts, which are updated daily and display flea activity across the country based on environmental conditions. The Flea Forecasts can be viewed at http://www.PetDiseaseAlerts.org.
CAPC's forecasts – supported by ongoing research by parasitologists and statisticians in leading academic institutions across the United States – highlight areas where more should be done to lower the risk of companion animals' exposure to disease caused by fleas. The foundation of these prevention strategies are recommendations that veterinarians and pet owners protect pets with year-round prevention products that kill or repel fleas.
"Because of the zoonotic potential of parasitic diseases – meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans – we created our Flea Forecasts to alert communities of the risk to people and pets locally," said Dr. Christopher Carpenter, DVM, and CEO of CAPC. "CAPC's daily Flea Forecasts are critical to alerting pet owners to the risks of fleas and reinforcing CAPC's recommendation that all pets need to be protected year-round."
To view the daily Flea Forecast, as well as the 30-Day Pet Parasite Forecast Maps that covers four parasitic diseases (Heartworm, Lyme, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis), visit http://www.petdiseasealerts.org.
How the Forecasts Are Created
The CAPC Pet Parasite Forecast Maps are a collaborative effort from parasitologists and statisticians in leading academic institutions across the United States who engage in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor vector-borne disease agent transmission and changing life cycles of parasites. The forecasts are based on many factors including temperature, precipitation and population density.
About Pet Disease Alerts
Pet Disease Alerts (http://www.petdiseasealerts.org) is a nonprofit focused on alerting pet owners to the threat of pet diseases in their local areas. Established by the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) in 2018, Pet Disease Alerts was created to directly communicate crucial, time-sensitive information about disease threats, encouraging pet owners to be proactive by visiting their veterinarian to get their pets tested and protected.
About the Companion Animal Parasite Council
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (http://www.capcvet.org) is an independent not-for-profit foundation comprised of parasitologists, veterinarians, medical, public health and other professionals that provides information for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. Formed in 2002, CAPC works to help veterinary professionals and pet owners develop the best practices in parasite management that protect pets from parasitic infections and reduce the risk of zoonotic parasite transmission.
Elaina Boudreau, BELA Communications, 913-660-0548, [email protected]
SOURCE Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)