No weather is too cold for fleas or ticks

Contributed photoLenore is a petite, 4-year-old Domestic Shorthair pictured with CGHS/SPCA Adoption Counselor Rebecca Warner. Lenore has called the shelter home now for 5 months and often gets overlooked as she can be a bit timid. She was found as a stray and enjoys lounging in our cat towers in our free roaming cat room. It has taken her some time to warm up to our staff and new people, but now enjoys being held and patted by our visitors. With some time and patience, Lenore would make the purrfect companion. If you’re interested in giving Lenore her furrever home, fill out an application at www.cghs.org or give us a call at 518-828-6044 ext. 100!

I’m writing this article with the promise of frigid effects of Alberta Clippers engulfing the Northeast this winter. These near-zero and sub-zero temperatures are not fit for man nor most beasts. Keep your eyes out for restrained animals with insufficient shelter and food, and for wandering cats and dogs who may be lost or dropped (abandoned).Get involved if an animal, especially a cat, appears on your property, previously unidentified. Don’t assume that feline belongs to the new family on the block, and is just looking for “extras.” This situation recently presented itself to one of my best friends, with the neighbor assuming that this cruising feline was owned. A comprehensive poll of the neighborhood found this to be untrue. She trapped the cat with the assistance of our shelter, and we (and the rescued Fluffy) are most appreciative for her involvement. Life is not worth living for most feral and semi-feral cats.

Back to my lead-in. It’s all about fleas and ticks! I know it’s almost January, and it doesn’t matter! A number of friends and colleagues, taking good and proper care of their dogs and cats, have been faced with a production of “Parasites in January Paradise.” Well-maintained companion animals and their households, on monthly preventatives (topicals) for fleas and ticks, have been faced with infestations. Our veterinarians at Chathams Small Animal Hospital remind us that many of the dogs and cats that are seen test positive (if you will) for flea dirt. If you have mice in your home — or you have a yard with wild critters, you have fleas on your property. Chances are very good that an occasional live flea will be carried in on your Kojak or Kitty. That means let the explosion begin with those lovely warm home temps.

Almost in a panic, these households use Capstar to kill the live fleas on the animal, discuss applications and options with topical protection, worm these contaminated individuals for tapes (all cats and dogs who have fleas WILL have tapeworms) twice over a 21 day period, bomb their homes (ZODIAC is the most effective), treat their cars, garages (if animals are allowed in there), and offices, etc. with a room or perimeter spray. Don’t forget that you must treat the premises a second time two weeks after your first application.

No question the eradication is a process — it takes a village of defense measures to insure a parasite-free environment. The secondary consequences of unattended-to animals can be flea-bite dermatitis with accompanying skin infections. Now we’re talking antibiotics, antihistamines, etc. etc. If you don’t have one, buy a flea comb. Start routinely grooming with it. If you get a flea, or most probably flea dirt, get thee to your veterinarian to discuss a successful battle plan. If any readers think that this frigid weather flea-thing is a snow job on the part of your clinician or the makers of these external parasite products, I can state for the record that you are absolutely incorrect. Just ask those pet owners who, for a brief minute, thought that they were living in Georgia or Florida, where fleas reign supreme 12 months a year. If you see one flea, there are thousands of eggs waiting for their chance to come alive!

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or www.cghs.org. Our Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

Charlene Marchand is the Chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at cghsaaron@gmail.com.

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