Preventing Fleas and Ticks in Pets

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Many cats and dog become infected with fleas or ticks, at some point. But it’s important to understand that fleas and ticks are not just annoying pests. They can cause serious health problems for your pet.

The summer is the peak season for fleas and ticks, and when your pet is at the greatest risk. But some can survive indoors during the winter, so year-round protection is best. Now is the time to take preventative measures, and the first step is in understanding the risks.

Why Does My Pet Need Fleas and Ticks Treatment?

Fleas and ticks can have serious consequences for the health of your pet. They can cause some of the following conditions and diseases:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis. This is an allergic reaction to flea saliva and can cause itching, inflammation and hair loss.
  • Anaemia: In extreme flea infestations, very young or small pets can suffer significant blood loss from flea bites. This can lead to anaemia, so watch out for signs like pale gums, weakness and fatigue. If you see fleas and notice your pet scratching, then contact us to book an appointment.
  • Tapeworms: Fleas can often cause tapeworms, even though they aren’t directly transmitted by flea bites.  A pet can ingest a flea that is carrying tapeworm larva, and this sometimes happens during grooming. Signs of tapeworms include itching around the anus, or what looks like rice around the anus or in the faeces.
  • Lyme disease: This disease can be transmitted by ticks in certain areas and regions. It is a big threat and can cause swollen joints, lameness, poor appetite and fever in pets.
  • Ehrlichiosis: This can be a mild or serious infection, which can cause depression, appetite loss, a high fever, or bleeding problems.

How to Protect Your Pet from Fleas and Ticks

The best way to avoid the health problems associated with fleas and ticks, is to protect them from getting them in the first place. Here are some simple steps you can take.

Year-round Treatment

Don’t just use flea and tick medication in the summer months, because some can survive indoors in winter. Talk to us about getting treatments at regular intervals. The strength of medication for flea and tick treatments depends on the weight of your pet.

Avoid Old Treatment or Preventive Products

Old products, especially if they’re out-of-date, can lose their effectiveness. Also, your pet may have grown and/or be heavier now, so they may need stronger medication. Check with us about the right medication to use and about new products which may be more effective.

Do Not use a Canine Product on Cats

Some flea and tick preventatives made for dogs contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats. It can cause very severe reactions in cats, which require immediate veterinary care. Check the product label, which will clearly indicate the species for which it has been approved.

Do Regular Tick Checks

If your pet has been in an area that might have ticks, be sure to do a tick check afterwards.  They are more likely to pick them up in areas with long grass or thick vegetation. Inspect your pet’s skin, ears and armpits for ticks.  Though not every tick bite transmits a disease, it’s a good idea to let us know that your pet has been bitten. You can also monitor your pet’s behaviour for any changes, such as lethargy, limping or loss of appetite.

Groom your Pet Regularly

Grooming is a good way to spend quality time with your pet. It also helps you keep an eye out for any external parasites that may be hiding under their coat.

Maintain Your Garden

Mow your lawn regularly, because ticks tend to like high grasses. Fleas prefer warm, moist, shady areas with organic debris.  So, rake leaves, brush and clippings from your garden to give fleas fewer places to hide and breed.

Get Regular Check-ups

During a routine check-up, we examine your pet for any signs of parasite problems. This is to help ensure that the preventative product you are using is working effectively. However, you should contact us right away if you have questions at any time about the product.

For more information on fleas and ticks, or to book an appointment just call us on (074) 937 4127. Alternatively, you can book your appointment here.  

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