Local vet offers tips in midst of flea epidemic - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local vet offers tips in midst of flea epidemic

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Pets across Kentuckiana this fall are feeling imprisoned by pests.

Marie Gagnon, a veterinarian at the Fairleigh Pet Center in the Highlands, says a relatively wet summer has created one of the worst years for fleas that she's seen in her 20 years as a vet.

"We see animals that are really, really infested."

The good news: Gagnon says if you're giving your pet a year-round preventative, you have nothing to worry about.  

The bad news: It's everybody else who should be on the alert.

"People that have forgotten or just didn't think they would get that bad, or sometimes some indoor pets and people say, 'Oh, I didn't think my pet would get that, then they really can get out of control.'"

Gagnon says that in the worst cases, pets can develop severe anemias and need blood transfusions. And, if it's not treated soon enough, flea infestation can kill your pet.

And, she says the most severe cases involve pets who are not allergic to flea bites, and therefore may not show the most obvious sign.

"These animals are not itchy. So, the fleas are going to get really, really bad and they're not going to be scratching.  And, so the fleas are going to get really really bad," Gagnon said.

The best treatment: Gagnon says she recommends an oral medication called Comfordice. 

"It really is what works the best out there, because you can bathe your dog, you can bathe your cat and you can really get rid of anything.  And, then, for 30 days, it's going to kill the fleas.  And, it just works really, really well."

But some places have run out of Comfordice. So Gagnon says another medication called Trifexis works is the next best thing.

She also says, if you have an infested pet, it's critical to treat your home, especially under furniture, with a product that contains an IGR, or insect growth regulator.

If you do not know what a flea looks like, Gagnon says they actually look like pepper.

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