Ticks and Fleas Prevention
Parasite prevention are two words that should be on the tongue of every responsible pet owner. Nevertheless, many inexperienced pet parents don’t fully realize the repercussions that a parasite problem could have for the health of their beloved furbaby, and even the humans living in their home. Cats, dogs and even ferrets are all at risk, so don’t let your pet remain unprotected. Here is what you need to know about tick and flea prevention.
What are ticks?
Ticks are small, wingless parasites that are most often found living outdoors in tall grasses, bushes and woodland. They hitch a ride on your pet when she brushes past, clinging on to her fur and then making their way to an area of the body where her blood runs close to the surface and where they are fairly well hidden. The underside of your pet’s body, including the stomach and thighs, tend to be popular locations. Ticks survive by drinking the blood of their host, swelling in size to accommodate their intake of blood. Once they are full, they will drop off until they become hungry again and start to look for another meal.
How will ticks affect my pet?
In addition to causing some degree of blood loss through their consumption, ticks are well known for transmitting a variety of different diseases, some of which could have potentially serious or even fatal consequences for your pet. Lyme disease is also spread by ticks, and if an infected tick bites you or another human rather than your pet, you too could contract the disease.
There is one further problem. Some ticks have a toxin in their saliva that causes paralysis. While some pets might experience this mildly, if the toxin affects the respiratory system, it could prevent your pet from breathing and put her life at risk.
What are fleas?
Fleas are probably the most well-known of all parasites, but many owners fail to realize quite how much of an impact they can have on their pet and indeed, their home. Fleas reproduce rapidly and what can begin as just a few of these parasites can quickly turn into a massive infestation. They don’t just live on your pet either. Fleas can survive for a number of weeks without a host and will live and lay eggs in your carpets, between your floorboards and all over the lower level of your home.
Fleas jump onto their host from wherever they are and will drink their blood to survive. The more fleas your pet has, the more likely she is to become anemic as a result of the blood loss the fleas cause. Some fleas carry diseases such as typhus and tapeworms, which could cause a secondary problem for your pet. Flea saliva is also highly irritating to many animals, with some experiencing such a bad reaction to it that they develop flea allergy dermatitis – a skin condition that usually requires topical medication to improve it. If your pet scratches persistently, she risks breaking the skin and causing an infection which will then require antibiotics.
Effective tick and flea prevention
The good news is that there are now more products to protect pets from ticks and fleas than ever before. Even better, flea and tick preventatives are often combined into one solution, making effective protection fairly affordable for owners.
Exactly which type of prevention is right for your pet will depend on her species, breed and size, and our vet will be happy to help you determine the most suitable variety and brand. Typically, you can choose from:
- Oral medications
- Spot-on treatments
You can also buy products designed to protect your home and yard from these pesky parasites.
It is important to recognize that all flea and tick preventatives are only effective for a period of time before they require being re-administered. You must note the lifespan of your chosen preventative and make sure to schedule repeating it before it runs out or your pet could be vulnerable. The same can be said for household preventatives.
If you would like more advice on the best flea and tick preventatives for your pet, please don’t hesitate to get in contact our knowledgeable and professional veterinary team.