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Parasite season ramping up in EBR

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BATON ROUGE – For the nanny of a toddler with a pet, the dog park is the perfect place to let out some energy.

“We like to come a little bit earlier when it’s a little cooler,” said Bridget Ardoin.

Lately though, the heat is hard to avoid. So are crawlers, specifically fleas and ticks.

“They run rampant in Louisiana,” said Ardoin. “We really struggle with it, and they just give diseases to the dogs that they don't need to have.”

BREC is taking notice, putting up signs that announce the dog parks are being sprayed for fleas once a month.

“Dog parks are certainly places where you can pick up fleas,” said Dr. Emily Tayor.

Dr. Taylor is a veterinarian at Capital Heights Veterinary Clinic. There, animals are coming in with fleas daily.

“It’s going to be bad, it’s going to be bad until the weather cools off,” she said.

With a cooler spring, Taylor says the parasite season started later.

“But, since the weather warmed up, it’s really taken off and I think it caught a lot of people unaware,” said Taylor.

Vets say many are now infested with the bugs. The best way to prevent this: give your pet monthly flea and tick medicine.

Otherwise, people can be part of the uptick, too.

“Fleas jump, they travel,” said Taylor.

“It’s a fear,” said Ardoin. “We just do everything we can to keep [the toddler] safe and protected.”

The spread among animals and humans is a concern for those who go to the dog park, all with the hope others are doing what they can to prevent it.

“We have their heartworm medicine, we take care of their skin and we bathe them regularly,” added Kevin Inouie who frequently takes his two dogs to the dog park.

BREC will be spraying the first Tuesday of every month at dog parks. The parks will be closed when this is happening, and for three hours afterward. They will continue to do this until the weather cools down.

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