Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are a very common problem among our pets. They carry bacteria that can cause serious illnesses. Fortunately, flea infestations, tick bites, and the tick-born diseases they carry are 100% preventable. Using a monthly flea and tick preventative helps to keep our pets safe from these external parasites. For animals that have sensitive skin issues, there are chewable tablets available as an alternative. Listed below are photos of commonly seen fleas and ticks, and the diseases they carry.
Fleas are a very common external parasite with over 2,000 species. Fleas find a ‘host’ and live out their life cycle on the host. Flea lifecycles can last up to 21 months. They thrive in warm humid environments; however, the temperature can drop to as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and fleas, larvae, eggs and pupae can still survive. Fleas can even survive in freezing winter temperatures by nestling deep in the undercoat of domestic and wild animals. For this reason, once monthly topical flea and tick prevention is recommended year round.
Fleas don’t just cause your pet to be itchy. They are carriers for tapeworm; another commonly seen intestinal parasite. When the flea bites your pet, your pet itches, scratches and sometimes ingests the flea. At that point, the flea breaks down, and the tapeworm grows into an adult worm where it resides in the small intestine, sucking up nutrients that are vital for your pets health.
Ticks are a very common external parasite seen in veterinary practice. The northeastern part of the United States sees ticks very often, and because of that, Lyme disease is very prevalent. Ticks can also cause other serious medical problems such as ehrichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. Lyme disease can cause serious health problems for your pet. Joint pain, lameness and swelling, fever, depression, loss of appetite and even renal failure are common health concerns if your pet comes into contact with Lyme disease.
Ticks are visible to the naked eye, however, the deer tick – the smallest of commonly seen ticks – are the carriers for Lyme disease. It can be very difficult to spot a tick on your pet, especially for longer haired dogs. For this reason, it is highly recommended to keep your pet on a monthly flea and tick preventative.