Pets, pet owners, and veterinary teams have had enough. Following is the report of a court case (i.e., a fictional court case) where Ohio veterinarians are suing fleas and ticks for harming innocent pets. 

The case brought before the court in March 2020:

Ohio veterinarians versus fleas and ticks

Argument #1: Fleas and ticks multiply dramatically, indoors and outdoors, every spring

Veterinary lawyer: When the weather starts to turn warmer, the number of fleas and ticks wanting to feast on everyone’s pets increases dramatically. Do you deny this? 

Fleas and ticks: Maybe. How do you suggest that occurs? 

VL:  You don’t like the cold weather so much, but as soon as the weather warms, you both expand your empires. You not only multiply inside homes, but also the outdoors.

F&T: Objection! The prosecution is pushing the facts too much. Sure, fleas can live inside homes during the winter, sure our eggs lay in wait in floor crevices or on carpeting, and sure, we jump onto the closest pet—or human—we can find whenever the opportunity presents itself. And we feast away. However, this is absolutely not true for ticks. 

VL: You are right—the same is not true for ticks. Ticks become totally dormant during the winter, working up a good appetite. Come springtime, they jump on any species they can to feed, they steal their host’s blood and, in exchange, they introduce microscopic parasites that infect their host’s blood, and cause illness.

So, your honor, each spring, veterinarians see many more cases of miserable pets with flea and tick infestations. 

Argument #2: Fleas and ticks are robbing indoor pets of their quality of life, and pet owners of hard-earned money, much-needed sleep, and their peace of mind

VL: The case is a simple argument. Fleas, as eggs and adults, and ticks will use whatever means necessary to get insidefor example, by attaching themselves to the human family members’ shoesto feast on innocent, plump indoor pets, who would not otherwise be exposed. 

F&T: Not guilty! We live in America, where we are free to live wherever, and however, our hearts desire. And, we find a way to live wherever we want, including indoors, where indoor-only pets taste so good. Some pet parents don’t think their indoor-only pets need flea and tick preventives, which suits us.

VL: But then, to add insult to injury, you fleas infest the indoor pet, who becomes incredibly itchy and miserable, and their continuous scratching not only keeps their owners up all night, but also puts a hole in the family budget, because the owner has to take them to the veterinary hospital for treatment, and purchase prevention products. The owner may also have to engage in extensive daily house cleaning for months, to rid the home of flea eggs. 

And ticks are no betterthey can pass on all kinds of parasitic infections, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, which can cause lifelong, significant illness and suffering in pets. 

F&T: We object! If pet parents don’t take steps to protect their pets, and their two-legged family members, that’s not our fault. Don’t we have the right to take what we can find? Finders keepers! 

Argument #3: Fleas and ticks must be stopped, because of all the misery and illness they cause, and prevention is key to their elimination

VL:  We propose a nationwide, coordinated effort by veterinary professionals and pet owners to minimize the terrible impact that fleas and ticks have on pets. We want every pet owner to be aware that the misery is preventable. All they have to do is to ensure their pet always gets a year-round flea and tick preventive, and then pet suffering and illness would be minimized, their own stress level would go way down, and they would save money, because testing and treatment is more expensive than prevention. And, that doesn’t include the “cost” of caring for a suffering pet, and the loss of sleep from a pet who keeps scratching all night long.

F&T: We object! You can’t do that to us! We have rights, too!

Judge: That is for me to decide.

If you notice your pet scratching, licking, or biting, fleas are most likely the cause, especially when it’s spring. If you live or walk with your dog anywhere outside, but especially near a wooded area, always check for ticks on your pet, particularly on the head, and on yourself, once you get home. 

At Westerville Veterinary Clinic, every member of our team of professionals cares deeply about flea and tick prevention, and we want to help you prevent the preventable. If your pet is not currently on year-round preventives, now is the time to start. Make an appointment at our clinic, to ensure you are best protecting your furry family member, and to join Drs. Giancola, Hereda, and Miller in promoting a community-wide flea and tick prevention campaign.