Fleas and Tick Prevention
When you choose to take on a new pet, you are probably expecting them to experience a parasite problem. Indeed, most cats and dogs will have at least one episode of fleas and one tick bite during their lifetime. However, while parasite infections may be a common part of pet ownership, they don’t have to be. Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and care, there are now more ways to protect your pet from fleas and ticks than ever before.
Why is it important to protect my pet from fleas and ticks?
Parasitic infections are an unpleasant and sometimes debilitating problem that can affect our pets.
Why your pet needs to avoid fleas
Fleas are the most common parasite affecting both wild and domestic animals in the United States. These tiny, dark-colored bugs jump on to your pet as she passes by and make their way to her skin where they bite in and drink her blood. The greater the number of fleas on her, the greater the amount of blood she may be losing, a potentially life-threatening problem for smaller or immature animals. Flea bites contain a toxin that causes an allergic reaction, and fleas also transmit diseases such as tapeworm, which could further make your pet sick.
Another key problem with fleas is that their reproductive cycle is very short, and just a couple of fleas can turn into an entire population in just a few months. Fleas will also live quite happily in your home while they eat and breed and will happily use the humans in your family for a quick snack if they are given the opportunity.
Why you should keep your pet safe from ticks
Ticks too live on your pet’s skin and feed off her blood. You generally get less ticks on an animal than you do fleas, but this is not always the case. As the tick feeds, she will transmit any diseases that she is carrying into your pet’s blood stream where again, which again could make your furbaby sick.
Some of the main diseases transmitted by ticks include lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis and tick paralysis, a reaction to the bite that can cause symptoms including respiratory distress.
How to prevent fleas and ticks
The good news is that many of the preventative treatments now available actually combine flea and tick-targeting chemicals, meaning that a single solution often works against both of these little parasites. There are various types of preventative available, both over the counter and on prescription including:
- Oral medications
- Spot-on treatments
- Sprays/topical treatments
Which is right for your pet will primarily depend on her breed and species. Too much of the preventative chemical could make your animal sick, whereas too little cold render the entire treatment useless and leave your furbaby vulnerable to infection. Our vet will be happy to speak to you and make a recommendation. Regardless of which solution you choose, it is essential that you stick religiously to the schedule for which she needs to be treated, otherwise there may be times where she is not fully protected.
In addition to treating your pet, you can also buy a range of different products to repel fleas and ticks from your property and outdoor environment. Again, make sure you choose a variety that is adequate strength for the size of your home, and follow the instructions carefully. Keeping your home clean and vacuuming daily is also a good way to protect against fleas.
If you would like further support in preventing your pet from being affected by fleas and ticks, contact us and speak to our local veterinary team.