July 16, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Don’t Be In “Flea”Nial! Know The Risks Of Fleas And Ticks

Dr. Cathy DeJesus
Dr. Cathy DeJesus's picture
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September 19, 2017

It is that time of year again — cooler evenings, shorter days and kids are back in school. That also means it is primetime for ticks and fleas as the weather conditions become more favorable. Don’t be caught off guard, and don’t stop using flea and tick preventatives on your pets because you think summer is over. There are many options for flea and tick control, but I will explain why monthly, year-round use of these preventatives is so important.

Prevent the spread of disease

By using flea and tick preventatives, you help kill these biting insects on your pet, which prevents them from being exposed to diseases and prevents discomfort and itching caused by their bites.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some of these diseases can even affect humans. Annually testing your pet with the common heartworm, Lyme, Anaplasma and Ehrlichia (also known as 4DX) test allows us to determine whether you and your pet have been exposed to ticks that carry these harmful diseases. With only a few drops of blood and 15 minutes, we can check your pet for exposure to a disease-carrying tick. From the time of a tick bite, it can take four to six weeks for the test to show a positive result.

Fleas can transmit parasites such as tapeworm, which look like grains of rice in your pet’s feces, and bacterial diseases such as bartonellosis, which is commonly known as cat scratch fever.

Prevent skin infections and other clinical diseases

Tick bites can cause local skin infections, and in some cases, paralysis for your pet.

Fleas can cause significant skin infection when your pet starts scratching after a flea bite due to an allergic reaction to their saliva. Severely flea-infested pets can experience anemia due to the blood loss from flea feedings. This is especially problematic in young kittens.

Prevent transmission of zoonotic disease

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) feels strongly that parasite prevention has a greater impact on society as a whole. Parasites in the environment can affect both pet owners and non-pet owners. By not using the appropriate parasite prevention methods for you and your pet, you can bring these parasites (both internal and external) to new locations and increase the risk of exposure to other pets and people making it a more widespread concern.

Visit the CAPC website at www.petsandparasites.org for great resources on protecting you and your family from parasites.

We all love our pets and many of us even sleep with them in our beds. We want them to stay healthy, so be sure to use flea and tick preventatives to keep them infection-free. Call Calvert Veterinary Center to discuss different options for flea and tick control. For more information, call 410-360-7297 or visit www.calvertvet.com.

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