Mild winter could mean more fleas and ticks for pets

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The mild temperatures this winter may be nice, but it could pose problems for your pets.

Usually the frigid winter temperatures helps kill off fleas and ticks, but the warm weather has veterinarians and dog owners bracing for a busy spring.

"It's every season," said Evan Esch, who brought his two dogs to Bryan park.  His pets are on flea and tick treatments, but have had problems before. "It doesn't matter if we medicate them or not, they always seem to have some ticks landing on them."

He has a feeling he'll pay the price for this weather, when spring rolls around.

"It took a long while for the fleas and ticks to die down last season," he said.  "Now it seems like it might come back earlier."

Fleas and ticks can lead to a long list of health problems for pets, such as anemia and tapeworms.  These problems can even be fatal with smaller pets.

Dr. Anna Barnes,  a veterinarian at Lakeside Animal Hospital, says fleas and ticks are a problem every year, regardless of how cold the winter is.

"People have this misconception that you don't need to do flea prevention in the winter," Barnes said.  "A lot of people stop applying that flea preventive November, December."

But this year she's afraid it'll be even worse.

"I don't know if I see more flea problems," she said.  "I definitely see ones that are more severe with the warmer weather."

Dr. Barnes says it's best to simply schedule an appointment with a vet and get your pet on a monthly treatment. She also says you should be careful using any over the counter treatments. Many of them have been around so long, fleas and ticks are now resistant to them.

Many vets also recommend washing blankets and dog beds regularly.

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