Sunday, May 4, 2014

Warmer weather is coming...

Winter is Coming - Brace yourselves warmer weather is coming 

It's no surprise that I've become engrossed in Game of Thrones recently* (it hits every highlight of what I love as a nerd), so this meme seems very appropriate.  In fact, as long as I live in Texas, I think these will become my "house motto".  You see, warmer weather brings dastardly blood sucking bastards fleas.  Here is what I have learned about dealing with a flea infestation.

First, do not believe people who tell you that you are imagining fleas.  That "if you had fleas, you would know it".  That, if they don't jump they aren't fleas.  That dogs get lots of fleas at once, not just one or two.  These, my friends, are all lies.  My poor baby has had fleas since Thanksgiving.  That was when the itching started and when I started seeing one or two black specks on his back legs.  I also had a wicked concussion at the time and couldn't see straight.  People told me I was hallucinating, that OCD and anxiety were creating a problem that didn't exist.  If you live in Texas and think you have fleas, you have fleas.

Fleas can be suffocated (slowly and painfully is best).  When you don't have a flea comb, bathing your animal of choice and letting them sit with suds on them for a few minutes before rinsing is normally enough to drown the fleas, at least most of them.  Your animal in the bath will (1) look pitifully at you and give you kisses, hoping you will let them out or (2) howl incessantly.  Owen spent 30 mins in the tub (and got soaped up 2 different times) before I felt confident enough to rinse him off and run to the store to get a flea comb and topical flea treatment.

Don't call your vet in a panic the minute they open about fleas in Texas.  They'll (likely) put a sticker on your chart that reads "crazy".  (The amazing person who answered the phone talked me down and explained about why, even though Owen was on a preventative, I was still seeing fleas.  And she scheduled me an appointment to come in the next day - because apparently fleas don't constitute an emergency here in Texas... go figure.)

Inexplicably, for every flea you find on your service dog who goes everywhere with you, there will be half-a-dozen more on your indoor cat who has never set foot in the grass as long as he's been alive.  And your cat will take so much better to getting dunked in the bathtub.  There were multiple escape attempts followed by me chasing a wet, soapy cat around the apartment.  Thankfully the only witness was Owen.

Know how your flea preventative works.  Owen is on Sentinel - a flea/heartworm/etc. preventative that is great for living in Texas.  Here's the thing though, it doesn't actually kill fleas.  Any fleas that bite Owen are "altered" so that they cannot reproduce - it makes any eggs they lay infertile and the flea life-cycle stops there.  However, they can still bite and live on your dog, and hop to your cat (who is not on preventative...).  Ugh.

Owen is now double-dipping.  He's going to get Sentinel and Frontline monthly, this way I know all fleas will be dead.  And for good measure, Toby will be on Revolution.  (I can already hear my wallet weeping.)

Your cat will be completely inept at grooming himself.  Without getting too graphic, you will likely spend an entire Friday night soaping up his chin and combing dead fleas off of his chin.  And he will be so thankful for this treatment... *achem*

Raid goes a long way towards peace of mind.  I don't think we ever had an infestation in the home, but after staying up until 1:00am washing every single thing in the apartment that could fit in the washing machine, it was very satisfying to spray every available surface with Raid (flea/egg killer).  I went through one-and-a-half cans between my one-bedroom apartment and my car.

Owen is feeling much better as a result of all of my newly acquired flea murdering knowledge.  I thought he was having seasonal allergies after moving to Texas, turns out he likely has a flea allergy - which means all it takes is one flea to turn his skin bright-red and itchy.  (We initially thought he had allergies so I was giving him weekly oatmeal and aloe baths, and while it probably made him feel better initially, it was disguising the real problem at hand.)  

I know fully accept that fleas are something I will deal with year-round while living here.  But I'm hoping that with being very strict about preventatives, I can keep it under control and out of my apartment for good.

*My health is starting that decline that happens this time every year.  I'm losing about two months of productivity here y'all...  From that first week of April until the end of school I have to accept that nothing productive will happen.  Doing so results in weekends like I've had the last couple of weeks - drugged up on the couch in unimaginable pain binging on new television shows, or ticcing myself into oblivion.  I suppose I'm supposed to be grateful that with Owen these weekends only happen for short periods of time instead of every week of the year, but right now it's hard to be grateful for that.  The list of things I want to do this summer continues to grow...  including resurrect my blogs - look to "Losing It" in the next few months to read about the new gym I've been going to and my (fingers crossed) foray into healthy food preservation.

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