Fleas infest Stateline homes

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Pet owners have been battling ticks since winter, and now the summer heat is coming full force with another nuisance wreaking havoc.

"Cats are little flea havens. Cats grow fleas; there's something about cat blood that makes fleas happy. So if you have cats that go indoors and outdoors,you need to protect those cats. If they bring fleas into your house you will have an infestation within a couple of months."

Local veterinarians say fleas have hatched all throughout the Stateline. Even if our animals do not frequent the great outdoors, our homes may still be infested because fleas could have latched onto our clothes last fall, layed thousands of eggs, and those eggs have just been waiting for the right time. Preventing them may be as simple as a giving your home a thorough vacuuming.

"Fleas and ticks are developing a tolerance to old products, so if you're not seeing results you need to talk to your vet immediately."

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Pet owners beware. Ticks are on the loose as conditions get to be just right for the blood suckers to run amuck.

"Over by the park close to our house, Buddy already had his first tick this year,” said Brian Troy about his puppy Buddy. “I'm pretty prepared for the season I kind of felt like this was going to be coming up."

Unfortunately, conditions are picture perfect for an infestation.

"They love these cool mornings, they love cool evenings, and they're out there,” said Dr. Kari Kobus, a veterinarian at Hillcrest Animal Hospital on Alpine Road. “They like to hide anywhere. I had three drop on me, yesterday, from a tree as I was walking under. I have dogs coming in here with ticks from their yards. We have Lyme disease diagnosed in dogs that never leave the neighborhood."

Ticks can carry harmful diseases in microscopic packages, most commonly Lyme disease which can paralyze if left untreated.

"It likes to go to the joints, it can go anywhere,” Kobus said. “We've had cases of Lyme disease getting into the brain, it causes encephalitis and there's nothing we can do for those dogs. We need to keep our pets protected. Chemicals in your dog are safer than Lyme disease."

"As a transplant recipient that's something I have to watch out for particularly too," Troy worries. Troy says the amino suppressants he has to take make him more vulnerable to diseases so buddy gets a thorough check after every play date.

If our pets do get a tick vets caution us to never use fire to remove them. Instead they suggest we dab rubbing alcohol or dish soap on the tick and use tweezers to pull on its head with a little twist. Squeezing the tick's body can infect our pets or even us with more. Another disconcerting thing, ticks may already be tolerant to some over the counter preventatives so it's best to ask our vet before we buy.

Most vets carry the 40X test which can detect Lyme disease as well as the majority of other diseases ticks carry.

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