Killing fleas can protect pets’, humans’ health

The Maui Humane Society and the SPCA, working with The Maui News, have helped our community by addressing recent cases of feline panleucopenia and making a best effort to limit incidence of the disease through vaccination.

While this disease is commonly fatal for cats, it does not infect people.

There are diseases that we catch either directly or indirectly from our pets. Certain animal parasites can cause blindness, skin rash and abdominal pain in people. Of special concern this year is murine typhus, also known as plague. This bacterial disease is spread from rats and mice to dogs, cats and people by flea bites. The disease can be fatal, even with appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Because of the wet winter and spring, there is an explosion of the rodent population. That means more fleas and a greater opportunity for the transmission of typhus to pets and people.

An effective strategy to protect you pets’ health, and also your own, is the use of treatments that quickly kill fleas before they can lay eggs. It is also known that flea populations have developed resistance to products, including Frontline, that were once effective.

There is no one ideal program of preventative treatment to best protect you and your pet. Discuss with your veterinarian what medications will be effective and provide protection based on your individual circumstances.

Alan Kaufman