SAN DIEGO – Fleas are jumping bugs that don’t have wings. They feed on the blood of people and animals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are more than 300 species of fleas in the United States. There are more than 2,500 species of fleas in the world.
But did you know that there are more fleas in San Diego than in any other place in the country? The chief medical officer of the San Diego Humane Society, Dr. Zarah Hedge, joined FOX 5 to talk about why that is the case.
As she put it, “The climate here is just great all year long,” so while there are more fleas and ticks in the summer, they are always around because of the warm weather. Many illnesses, like Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, can be spread by fleas and ticks. “These are things that can also make people sick, so not only can we get sick from them, but so can our dogs and cats,” Hedge said.
The CDC says that the most common fleas in the U.S. are the Cat Flea, the Dog Flea, the Ground Squirrel Flea, and the Oriental Rat Flea. However, only a few of them can be harmful to people’s health. The CDC tells pet owners to keep their animals inside more of the time, keep them away from wild and stray animals, bathe and brush their dogs often, and check for fleas often.
You should talk to your vet about what product will work best for your pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, or rabbit. “There are a lot of products on the market, and they can be applied topically or taken as pills. The key is to find the best one and keep them on it all the time, especially in this climate,” Hedge said. The SDHS said that even people who keep their cats inside should keep them on flea medicine because pests can get inside.