Fleas and Ticks
What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny parasites that live in warm, furry places and subsist on a diet of blood from their host. They can cause an array of health issues for your pet including: intense scratching, red and irritated skin, scabbing, hair loss, and potential anemia. Some animals (and humans!) are allergic to fleas, which can intensify these symptoms and include things like hives and rashes.
Additionally, fleas can carry intestinal parasites such as tapeworms and transmit them to your pet if the flea is consumed during the grooming process. These parasites cause additional discomfort and add on to the list of symptoms for your vet to treat, which can lead to a hefty vet bill. This is one of many reasons why it’s important to prevent fleas from making your furry friend their new home instead of treating them as symptoms arise.
What are ticks?
Ticks are another tiny parasite that can live on your pet and spread disease and discomfort by consuming blood from the host. The three main diseases your pet could get from a tick are lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. Symptoms of these diseases can include joint pain, lameness/limping, and arthritis. If left untreated, lyme disease can lead to lyme nephritis, a potentially fatal form of kidney failure.
Lyme disease and lyme nephritis cases are seen more often than you think, and can lead to shortened lifespans in affected dogs. By preventing ticks from living on your pets, you’re doing your best to ensure they live a long and happy life by your side.
How can we prevent fleas and ticks?
To ensure that you’re receiving medication that is fully effective, always get your preventative medications or products from a licensed veterinary clinic (either in-office or through their online pharmacy when available). This will prevent your pet from consuming any harmful/toxic chemicals that may be used in cheaper knock-off products.
Options for preventative treatment include:
- Topical ointments/solutions - these are liquids that are applied between your pets shoulder blades either once a month or every three months, and can be applied either in-office or at home.
- Oral medications - these pills are often flavored so your pet gets a tasty treat with their treatment.
- Flea and tick collars - these collars release small amounts of pet-safe preventatives and pesticides that keep pests at bay for several months.
By making flea and tick preventative a part of your pet’s routine healthcare, you are keeping them safe from irritating, painful, and potentially fatal diseases and making sure you two have a long and happy life together. It also cuts down on your annual vet costs by cutting out the need to treat these pesky parasites and the symptoms they bring with them. If your pet needs emergency treatment, please contact your local veterinary office or animal hospital.
For more information about preventative flea and tick care visit our additional resources: