SAN DIEGO — Fleas are wingless insects that jump and feed on the blood of animals and humans.
With over 2,500 flea species worldwide, there are more than 300 species in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But did you know that in San Diego, there are more fleas here than in any other city in the country? Dr. Zarah Hedge, chief medical officer with the San Diego Humane Society, joined FOX 5 to discuss why that is the case.
“The climate here is just great year-round, so we do see a peak in the summertime, but we see fleas and ticks year-round in this climate just because of the warm weather that we have,” she said.
Fleas and ticks can carry a lot of different diseases such as Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
“These are things that can also affect humans, so not only can we get sick from those, our dogs and cats can also get sick,” Hedge said.
While only a select few can affect people’s health, the most common fleas of the U.S. include the Cat Flea, Dog Flea, Ground Squirrel Flea and Oriental Rat Flea, per the CDC.
The CDC recommends to limit their pets’ outdoor time, restrict contact with wild and stray animals, bathe and brush pets regularly and check for fleas regularly.
“Talk with your veterinarian and see what product is going to work best for your pet, whether that’d be a dog, cat, rabbit. There’s a lot of products out there and they can be topical, oral pills and so really just determining what is best and then keeping them on that continuously, and in this climate, year-round,” Hedge said.
Even pet owners with indoor cats, it’s important to keep them on flea preventives because pests can come in the house, the SDHS added.