With warmer weather now here, one cause for concern are parasites hosting on your cat or dog. Fleas and ticks are external parasites which host in your pet's fur and burrow themselves further in, causing irritation, discomfort and even serious disease if they are not removed as soon as possible. The good news is that prevention of parasites is relatively easy, so talk with your vet about what preventative products can be used or what actions can be taken to keep your pet safe from these small, harmful creatures.
Here are some helpful tips for parasite prevention.
Fleas can inflict allergic reactions, itching and inflammation on your pet's skin, and therby cause your pet to excessively scratch or bite their skin. Fleas can be prevented by administering a medication in tablet or liquid form into your pet's mouth, or between the shoulder blades or at the base of the neck. We will discuss with you the best options, however keep in mind that some flea control products work against adult fleas, while some products are designed to target fleas when they are yet larvae. Talk with your vet about which products will work best for your pet.
Unfortunately, once fleas have begun hosting on the animal, the infestation will be difficult to rid of. Fleas will need to be completely removed from the environment wherever the pet lives. Your vet may recommend that you vacuum all rugs, remove all pet bedding and launder other items, in addition to frequently treating your pet.
Ticks can transmit illnesses such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If you suspect your pet has ticks, treat him or her as soon as possible, to prevent disease.
The good news is that if your dog or cat has ticks, you will find that treatment is safe, effective and relatively easy. Talk with your vet about administering tick control products, which like preventative flea medications, can be given to your pet as a fluid to the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades.
In addition, to prevent ticks, try to keep your pet out of heavily wooded areas or away from tall grass. If your pet does enter one of these areas, check them at least once a day. Should you find a tick hosting on your pet dog or cat, use a gentle, firm grip to remove the tick using a tweezers. Avoid using a lighter fluid or matches, as this may irritate your pet's skin and cause injury.
Finally, do not use flea or tick medications intended for dogs on cats, as some medications normally adminstered to dogs can be toxic for their feline counterparts. Follow all label instructions, and if you have questions, please consult your veterinarian first.