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North Country SPCA 7-24-10

Kathy L. Wilcox • 962-8604 • www.ncspca.org

We are now well into the heart of summer - and flea season - in the Upstate NY area. This is also the time of year when many un-neutered cats and dogs have their young. Unfortunately, fleas are just as likely to make a home in the fur of a kitten or puppy as they would be in an adult animal. For these fur babies, the complications presented by a flea infestation can be even more troublesome than for the adult animal.

Flea infestations can lead to both standard anemia and a much more dangerous form known as Haemobartonellosis, which is caused by a microorganism. In addition, fleas and tapeworms are nearly synonymous in young animals. Clearly, we want to protect our youngest dogs and cats, but what treatment is considered safe at this age? The following are a few pointers about flea control from about.com.

First, control flea infestations in the home. Wash all bedding thoroughly. Vaccum carpets on a daily basis using new vacuum cleaner bags. Insect "bombs" can be used, but with caution; the chemicals released are harmful to all animal life, and you may want to consider professional application if you pursue this route. Hire a professional to treat outdoor areas.

As for your pet herself, begin with a thorough brushing using a flea comb. Shake the comb periodically over a jar of diluted bleach to kill any fleas. A mild, non-insecticidal pet or baby shampoo is sufficient after brushing. Advantage flea control documents safety for kittens as young as eight weeks of age, but we recommend you do not use any chemical flea control products on your young animal without your veterinarian's supervision.

Our featured pet this week is Jax, a Jack Russell Terrier mix. Jax is a sensitive cutie who is often shy around new people, but his curiosity gets the better of him very quickly once he gets to know you. After some introductions and some chin-scratching, you may find this playful sweetheart will never leave your side. Jax gets along well with other dogs and loves his walks. If you are looking for a small dog who is affectionate and enjoys the outdoors, Jax may be the pup for you.

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