CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -(WDEF) Recent rains and warm temperatures have contributed to what many local veterinarians describe as one of the worst winter seasons for fleas.
Marcia Toumayan is a veterinarian for the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga
. She says when it comes to fleas, the last couple of months have been very hard on dogs and cats.
"October, November, December and going into January has been been a very bad time for fleas," Toumayan said.
Toumayan said one of the biggest misconceptions by pet owners is that their house cats won't get fleas if it never goes outside, especially in the winter.
"They can hitch-hike on you when you're out in the garden. They live in the grass and they can come in and then jump off you and onto the cat because they prefer cat blood. It's the cat flea that we most commonly deal with here," she said.
Veterinarians are asking pet owners to make sure their cat is on a flea preventative, especially if the cat shares a home with a dog because even if the dog is on a flea preventative drug, that animal can transport fleas into the house where they can jump on an unprotected cat.
In recent days and weeks, many pet owners have been taken by surprise when they brought their animal into the vets office.
"Many clients of mine that I have seen did not have a flea problem during the summer and then all of a sudden in the fall and early part of the winter, the fleas have exploded," Toumayan said.
Sings that your pet may have fleas include: scratching, hair loss and skin scabs. In some cases, a pet may not even show any symptoms of a flea attack. Fleas can also cause an animal to develop tape worms.