October is Peak Flea Season | Urban Wildlife

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October is Peak Flea Season
Urban Wildlife


According to a recent survey of dog owners in the Jacksonville area, 75 percent of dog owners consider their canine a member of the family, yet only 14 percent were able to correctly identify October as the month when flea population peaks.

Over the past five years, flea infestation in dogs nationwide has increased by 16 percent. Despite the growing flea infestation, local dog owners have limited knowledge about fleas and their potential impact on the family. For example, many pet owners would be surprised to learn that adult fleas represent only 5% of the flea population – the other 95% exist as eggs, maggot-like larvae and pupae hiding in and around your home. And, only 20% of local pet owners are aware that fleas can carry diseases.

To address the lack of flea awareness among pet owners, Dr. Lynn Buzhardt, nationally acclaimed author, public speaker and small animal veterinarian recently began a multi-state tour discussing flea infestation issues with local veterinarians. Dr. Buzhardt, who treats animals at a veterinary clinic in Baton Rouge, will share survey results pulled from local dog owners in Jacksonville, underlining misconceptions dog owners have when it comes to controlling the flea population.

According to Dr. Lynn Buzhardt, a flea infestation causes distress for both the pet and its owner, leading to potential illness and a flea life cycle that is difficult to break. “Fleas can not only cause extreme discomfort for pets, but they can also cause tapeworms and Flea Allergy Dermatitis,” Dr. Buzhardt said. “Adult fleas that are typically found on your pet represent just 5 percent of the flea population in a house. The rest are eggs, pupae, and maggot-like larvae that live in carpets, couches, beds and other surprising places around the home.”

According to Dr. Buzhardt, 95 percent of any given flea infestation is made up of fleas that are not visible on a pet. The only way to get rid of flea eggs and larvae that lurk unseen in your home is to break the flea life cycle and prevent a new generation from hatching.

To help pet owners break the vicious flea cycle, Novartis Animal Health, the maker of Sentinel® Flavor Tabs,® recently announced a program to educate pet owners flea prevention and protection. The program features the dirtiest guy on TV, Mike Rowe, and his best friend Chuck, a Bernese mountain dog who provides insights and tips on flea control.

The campaign is part of “The Dirty Truth about Fleas,” a Sentinel Flavor Tabs initiative to educate pet owners about the flea life cycle and the surprising ways that fleas can survive in homes and on pets. Mike Rowe’s experience with all things dirty, including parasites and pests, makes him a good fit to educate pet owners about one of America’s biggest pest and home problems.

For Rowe, the collaboration on behalf of Novartis for Sentinel is gratifying on a personal level. “I've been bitten by just about every parasite on the planet,” he said. “Bed bugs, lice, ticks, leeches...I even had a tape worm for a while. I’m happy to work on a fun, slightly unorthodox campaign that helps rid the world of blood-sucking parasites. I mean, when was the last time you saw a talking dog?”

The program will combine YouTube and Web videos featuring Rowe and Chuck, interactive Internet content, dramatic and realistic animations and live events to elevate awareness about flea problems and the threat they pose to dogs, family members, and the homes in which they live.

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