Autumn is a good time to remember that fleas, ticks and mosquitoes thrive in San Diego County and do not take time off in the fall or winter.

The diseases they carry can be challenging to diagnose and treat; many can be fatal, in people and our pets. Fortunately, all of these diseases can be prevented by regular use of veterinary products that prevent the bites of fleas and ticks.
Fleas prefer temperature and humidity ranges that San Diego provides throughout the year. Although flea numbers may be highest during the spring and summer, fleas are abundant and active all year and are fully capable of tormenting flea-allergic patients and transmitting tapeworms and serious veterinary and human bacterial diseases.

Tick species in San Diego County also survive all year long, and their populations are increasing. Several species of ticks peak throughout the year, ensuring high levels of ticks every month. Ticks spread numerous bacterial and parasitic diseases. Our San Diego ticks can give us Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, some even carry a toxin that can cause paralysis.

Although not historically considered a problem in San Diego County, heartworm disease is on the rise. This blood parasite is transmitted from mosquitoes to dogs and can be fatal; cases of heartworm disease have doubled in San Diego over the past few years. Fall is a good time to discuss prevention of this deadly disease with your veterinarian.

Selection of the product used is best made through discussions with your veterinarian, who understands the specific medical needs of your pet.

The safest way to guarantee success is to purchase a veterinary product from your family veterinarian. This will ensure that the product purchased is actually the one recommended, will not interact with other medications your pet may be taking and has been stored under appropriate conditions.

Dr. Laura Stokking is a board-certified specialist in veterinary dermatology at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital ( with locations in Sorrento Valley and San Marcos.