Fleas and Ticks and Mosquitos…Oh My! It's A Dog’s Life!
Let’s face it, there’s nothing particularly exciting about the subject of parasites (a.k.a. fleas, ticks, and mosquitos). They’re nasty, pesky, and unquestionably a serious hazard to your pet’s health and happiness. In fact, just the thought of these bugs can make your skin crawl. Of course, when it comes to your pets – that’s exactly what they do.
Fido may not be able to tell you that these pests are causing him heartache (pun intended) - but his constant scratching, itching, biting, and whining will certainly speak louder than words.
Let’s look at these bugs and what you can do to help your pet enjoy life without them.
When a flea bites your pet, it leaves behind its saliva, causing irritation and often leading to skin dermatitis. Severe cases of flea bites can lead to diseases such as anemia and tapeworms. Dogs with flea anemia will become very weak due to the extreme loss of blood that a heavy flea infestation will cause. Tapeworms cause weakness, weight loss and vomiting. The most serious cases can be fatal.
Ticks are really a flea’s big brother. After attaching themselves to your pet with their mouth, ticks will drink your pet’s blood (sorry, just the facts). Ticks carry the bacteria that causes several diseases including Lyme’s Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, just to name a couple. These illnesses cause lameness, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, neurological abnormalities - a number of which can make your dog extremely sick.
As if the first two pests weren’t enough, mosquitos carry the heartworm parasite. This is extremely dangerous and can also be fatal to your pet.
The signs of heartworm disease include:
- Persistent cough
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
Unless detected early, disease progression will lead to heart failure (often noticed as an appearance of an extended belly). Dogs can develop sudden blockages of blood in the heart that lead to life-threatening heart failure, called caval syndrome.
But There Is Good News!
Despite the unpleasantness of this important topic, there is good news to keep your pet safe year-round from these parasites. From topicals, oral chewables, and collars, the following are effective options to keep your pets happy and healthy.
For dogs, NexGard® is a monthly chewable dose that kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations and the treatment and control of tick infestations in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age and older.
To treat heartworms and other intestinal worms in dogs, we prescribe Heartgard® Plus. This monthly chewable prevents the invisible threat of heartworm disease while treating and controlling five species of intestinal worms.
Flea and tick collars from Seresto® are also available. The collar kills fleas and ticks and repels them before they bite. It can work up to 8 months as long as you only bathe your dog once a month.
Our feline friends can be protected from 6 common parasites with one dose of REVOLUTION® PLUS. A monthly topical dose is simple to apply. It’s quick-drying and does not require gloves to apply - just wash hands and engage with your cat as usual.
Special discounts on all these treatment options are available at AVAC for a limited time. To schedule your pet’s exam call 205-967-7383. Don’t let a little parasite cause a big problem for your pet this year.
Julie Grimes, DVM