Scientist had a “my bad” moment a year or so ago when they discovered the fossil of what they thought was a giant flea that fed on dinosaurs. The “oh wow can you believe this” turned out to be just a big ol’ prehistoric bug that had no parasitic intentions. The unearthing of the one-inch long pest does however open our eyes to a very stark reality. Insects, in general, have survived numerous extinction events on the planet and you can bet that long after humanity perishes, creepy crawlers will still inhabit the Earth. So don’t assume a couple of months of cool weather will do what comets crashing into the planet, or climate change couldn’t do; especially here in the jungles of South Carolina.
A change in temperature is no reason to get a little slack with your heartworm and flea preventatives. Get it out, get it on them or in them…and do it on time.
Here’s the thing they discovered in the Great White North. Even though long freezes change the life cycles of fleas and mosquitoes – ultimately decreasing their threat to our pets – giving heartworm preventatives and flea control products through the frigid months diminished the frequency of forgetting to restart them when things warmed up. Consistency; if we do the same thing the first of the month, every month, we start to do it in our sleep every 30 days. So there is the first solid reason to not let up our relentless fight to keep the critters off our pets. Our dogs and cats reap the benefits of such proactive health care.
So even up North the Veterinary community recommends that pet owners continue the application or administration every single month of said products. Why would that be any different in the South? It isn’t. Our weather only compounds those forgetful lapses.
Certainly our cooler months can and do bring the thermometers down to levels that force us to remember how to put on a pair of socks and with it a false sense of security. If I can’t feel my face then fleas and mosquitoes can’t be an issue, can they? History says every fall and winter those miserable spells of weather are broken by spectacular periods of warmth that can melt the ice off bridge cables. And the winds of each high pressure system carry with them the reemergence of bugs!
Fleas and mosquitoes are very tolerant of short periods of cold. Fleas, in particular, while intolerant of direct sunlight, love humidity, shade and warmth; an apt description of our world included in every Chamber of Commerce brochure in the South.
Aside from vaccines, preventing heartworm disease and controlling fleas are the easiest proactive measures we can take to ensure the health of our dogs and cats. So, take it from Flintstone…don’t skimp on the monthlies. The flea’s history is loaded with misery (the Plague, circuses you can hardly see, etc.) and the mosquito’s past is rife with despair (malaria, encephalitis and awful picnics). Don’t’ add to the list.
Get the stuff out and use it every month….always.