Put Your Best Paw Forward

Article by: Deb D’Andrea

Colorado Fleas?

Have you ever wondered if we have fleas in Colorado?  I did as I rarely see any on my furry clients and questioned if it was an elevation thing or what.  Surprisingly, in Colorado there are about 80 different types of fleas; but thanks to our dry climate and cooler temperatures, fleas rarely pose a threat as they reproduce poorly here.  Fleas prefer areas like Florida that have an ideal temperature of 80 to 90 degrees and a relative humidity of 70% or higher.

While rare that fleas will survive once arriving to Colorado, when traveling with your pet fleas can hop on their fur and hitch a ride home; and when transporting or rescuing dogs and cats from other States, be aware that they may be carrying fleas.  The “Cat Flea” reproduces on dogs and cats, and establishes inside homes where humidity is sufficient.  Fleas require a host to thrive, and can be a bother to human, canine and feline alike.

Wild animals like coyotes, skunks or fox nesting near your home can introduce fleas to your living space once they leave their den or nesting area.  The fleas will disperse, scatter and find their next host.  It’s good to keep these critters out of your home and yard, not only from a flea perspective, but from other perspectives also.

There are some species of fleas that carry the bacterium Yersinia pestis which cause a rare and deadly plague.  These fleas typically are found on rock squirrels, prairie dogs, wood rats and rodents that burrow or build stick nests, and is thought to have originated from rodent populations in China.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague…human plague infections continue to occur in the western United States…”  (http://www.cdc.gov/plague/).

While Colorado has several prairie dog towns nestled near trails and open space, it is smart to keep your dog and yourself far away to help ensure you and your pet don’t pick up and get bitten by an infected flea.  While unlikely, it’s smart to take precautions.  I’ve been hiking and have seen prairie dog towns with warning signs saying that they have the plague.

4TheLuvOfDogz ~ Making Tails Wag Better

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Deb D’Andrea is Founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz.

Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or

email:  info@4theluvofdogz.com

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