The time of year is upon us. Fleas and ticks are out, most places never really left, but they are out there and more dogs and cats are being affected. Being the most frequent pet concerns in the US prevention is key to protect your pet.
Remember even if your pet is completely indoors they are still at risk.
Let’s talk about Fleas.
Most commonly found at the base of an animal’s tail or on their belly they can live for up to 1 year and produce millions of offspring. Typically when finding 1 flea or even just flea dirt (flea poop) on your pet, you are looking at the tip of the iceberg. These wingless insects feed on blood and are persistent in their environment.
- Flea dirt (flea poop) which consist of small black droppings typically found on the belly or at the base of the animals tails.
- Scratching and more scratching
- Skin infections most often due to the amount of biting and scratching your pet is doing
- Pale gums, especially in young animals since they are at risk of a life-threatening anemia.
- Tapeworms which look like small grains of rice are the result of ingesting fleas.
How to treat a flea infestation
- Flea prevention! This should be used all year round regardless if your pet is indoors or out. Always remember do not use dog products on cats.
- Clean, Clean, Clean. This means deep cleaning. Cleaning rugs, washing everything, wiping things down. Once you are finished and think you are done, do it all over again.
- If the infestation is really bad you may need to hire a professional exterminator. It is not recommended to treat your home by yourself as this usually doesn’t work well.
Let’s talk about Ticks
You may not even notice ticks on your pet. You may only find that your pet was bit by a tick when a yearly heartworm test was performed that tests for tick-borne diseases also.
While ticks are most active in the late spring and summer, depending on your area they can be around throughout the year. This is why it is important to discuss with your veterinarian if your pet should be on tick prevention all year round.
Complications from a tick bite
- Tick Paralysis does happen but is although and thankfully rare. There have been cases while a tick bites an animal they become completely paralyzed, even requiring a ventilator. Not too long ago a veterinary student found the tick on a paralyzed dog and the dog completely recovered.
- Skin irritation can occur from the bite itself or from leaving the mouth parts in when removing the tick
- Tick-borne diseases which can be painful to our pets and some can even result in life-threatening kidney failure later on in life.
Removing at tick
Making sure you remove the whole tick is important and if you are concerned about removing I would recommend visiting your veterinarian.
How to prevent tick bites?
Prevention is best since no matter where you go they can be.
What flea and tick preventions work?
There are 3 different types of flea and tick prevention that work well.
This is a liquid that has to be placed directly on the skin. Depending on the product it will state if you can put it all in one spot or down the animals back.
These are pills that are either given once a month or once every 3 months.
The best collar to work for flea and tick prevention is the Seresto collar. The only way this works if it is put on correctly.
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