Animal Hospital News

Summer Fleas and Ticks are Here Early: Tips for Riddance and Why

posted by Dr. Deb on June 12th, 2016 in Cats, Dogs

itchy dogSummer Flea and Tick Season Hits Tucson, Arizona Early this year,   thanks to unseasonably warmer temperatures and early rains.  Don’t let Arizona’s hot, dry environment lull you into a false sense of comfort.  

Our outdoor pets really are at risk for flea and ticks in Tucson, as well as other parts of the country.  Sure, we aren’t innundated with the repulsive little buggers like the deep Southeastern United States, but we do have our own species of desert adapted fleas and ticks!  Our outdoor pets are likely to pick up one of these annoying, disease-carrying parasites!  Pets living in wild desert environments are especially at risk of picking up the fleas from our desert rodents and pets in cultivated yards can pick up both fleas and ticks!sticktight lfea on ear

“I was “SURE” for years that we “don’t have fleas in Arizona”– til my dog got them from our desert yard!  Thank goodness I had a teenager who could see the little boogers!  I sure couldn’t without my glasses!   THEN my cat, who got out for ONE night came home with stick tight fleas on his ears!  You can bet I was grossed out/appalled/ freaking out and put all my pets on Flea prevention!”-Dr Bohnke 

Not only are fleas and ticks gross and itchy, they can cause severe allergic reactions in our pets.  A single flea bite can make the whole pet itchy!  If your pet is itchy and spends time outside in an environment where he could be exposed to areas that desert animals live in, just get him an effective flea preventive!

Fleas and Ticks also carry a variety of diseases that can be transferred to both our pets and us!

  • Plaque, carried by rodent fleas (Arizona is one of the three leading states in the Western US to have plaque outbreaks).

Click here for 2016 outbreak 

Click here for 2015 outbreak   

  • Tick Fever is a common disease caused by the blood parasite (Ehrlichia spp.) transferred by the bite of ticks.  There are several other disease-causing parasites transferred to both humans and dogs by tick bites.  See

Click Here for diseases in dogs

Click Here for diseases in humans (Tick Borne Relapsing Fever, especially)

Dealing with these pests is no fun! Here’s what you need to know to get your life back to normal: 



  • If you suspect fleas are present, check ears, face, or your pet’s underside to confirm. (Our desert rodent fleas can be very hard to see. Cat and dog fleas are usually 1.5-3.3 mm in length. Rodent fleas are usually 1.5- 2.5 mm in length. “Specks of dirt” are suspect, especially if they move!)
  • At the first sign of fleas, wash bedding and furniture and vacuum carpets. 
  • Put a flea collar into your vacuum bag or canister to kill the fleas and eggs you vacuum up. Change or Empty the vacuum weekly.
  • Use a fogger or a powder to cover larger areas. 
  • Ask your vet for a safe and effective Flea Protection Recommendation.
frontline cat image

Once a month SpotOn for cats and dogs

revolution puppies kits

Once a month spot on for cats and dogs

Program lufenuron image

Once a month Oral for control of fleas In The Environment (!)


15% Off at Cimarron Animal Hospital  

                                       in June






  • To remove ticks, dab the area with rubbing alcohol, then extract the ticks slowly with tweezers. Take care not to squeeze too hard or pull too fast.
  • Drop removed ticks in rubbing alcohol before disposing.
  • Treat the spot on your pet with alcohol or antibacterial ointment after removal.
  • Spray your house and yard every 2 weeks for 2 months, then monthly to kill the ticks in your environment.
  • Remove any decorative or scrap wood from your yard (ticks love to hide there)
  • Ask your vet about a safe, effective Tick Protection.

Once a month SpotOn


Once every 3 month! Oral


15% Off at Cimarron Animal Hospital  

                                                 in June

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