As the title states, the annual flea infestation is on the wane. Lately, we've only had one or two dogs, per day, come in with fleas. That's a remarkable improvement over the 50% to 70% rate we sometimes hit during August to October.
Even though we make more money when dogs or cats have fleas, I have to admit I'm very glad that we're seeing fewer fleas. After all, they are parasites, and if left untreated, can spiral out of control and seriously impact, even kill, your pet.
One interesting aside: a customer came in recently. Her Lhasa had reddish, thinning hair on the lower back, above the tail. For me, that's a telltale sign that a dog has fleas. For some reason, that area is very popular with fleas (another popular area is the top of the head). The reddish color comes from the dog's saliva as he bites and licks at the flea bites. The thinning hair is due to the biting and scratching induced by the flea bites.
I immediately asked my customer if her dog had fleas. She said no; she had taken the dog to her vet (a chain veterinary service located in a chain pet supply store ;) ), they told her the dog had eczema, gave it a steroid shot and told her to buy benadryl. Well, I parted the dog's hair, and there was a flea. I showed the client, she was understandably upset that her dog's condition had been misdiagnosed, quickly dismissed and charged for an unnecessary steroid shot.
I am NOT a vet, and I think most vets are very dedicated, highly skilled, competent, professionals, however, for anyone who is around animals, professionally all day long, this is pretty basic. I'm surprised the vet didn't see the fleas, didn't perform any tests and just assumed the dog had eczema.
Bottom line - learn everything you can (from the internet, from your vet, from your groomer, from other pet owners) about pet health and responsible pet ownership, so that you can become a true partner, with your pet professionals, in the long term health and well-being of your pet.
Good luck, and don't forget to brush!