Early, Heavy Pest Season Puts Pets at Increased RiskNPMA Staff
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Pests including ticks,
fleas and mosquitoes
are already out in full force, their heavy populations and early
arrival an effect of an especially wet, warm spring. Pet owners
should be cautious this season, the National Pest Management
Association (NPMA) says, as dogs, cats and other pets are
especially susceptible to health risks posed by such pests.
Mosquitoes can transmit heartworms to
pets, which can result in severe lung and heart disease. Ticks
spread bacteria to pets that can cause diseases including Lyme
disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. More, female ticks can
cause a condition called "tick paralysis" if they attach near a
pet's spinal cord. This condition causes muscle weakness, loss of
coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as
chest muscles become paralyzed.
The saliva of fleas can cause anemia, dermatitis, and transfer
tapeworms in pets. Fleas also have an extraordinary ability to jump
great heights, which allows them to easily hitchhike into a home
while hidden in the fur of a family pet. Once inside, fleas quickly
multiply and infest bedding, furniture and clothing.
"Pet owners should take special care to protect their pets from
ticks, fleas and mosquitoes this season," says Missy Henriksen,
vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Always inspect
pets' coats thoroughly after they spend time outdoors and work with
a pest professional if these pests make their way indoors."
The NPMA also recommends these tips to
keep your pet safe from pests:
- Keep an eye on pets for excessive scratching or licking.
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass where pests often gather.
- Wash pet bedding, plush toys, and vacuum frequently.
- Talk to your veterinarian about treatment options to protect
your pet, and seek medical advice if ticks or fleas are found on
- If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest
To learn more or to find a pest professional, visit
NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was
established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's
commitment to the protection of public health, food and