As the weather heats up w all become aware of presence of fleas and ticks. Most of us know how important it is to protect our furry friends from these nasty creatures to keep them well. Here are 10 facts about parasites you might not be aware of.
Fact #1: They Spread Disease
Fleas can carry deadly diseases. While it’s true that most people consider fleas more of nuisance than a true health threat, but they can also carry diseases such Feline Infectious Anemia as well as Bartonella, the organism that causes cat scratch fever when an infected cat scratches a human.
Fact #2: Bites Can Kill
Fleas can consume enough blood to kill a small or geriatric dog or cat. This is especially a problem for outdoor pets not protected against fleas, especially if they have other coexisting diseases such as kidney, liver or endocrine.
Fact #3: Fleas Prefer Shade
Like us, fleas don’t really like the extreme heat. They cannot survive for long at temperatures over 95 degrees and so will seek out the shade, which is also where they will find our furry friends doing the same.
Fact #4: They Love Comfort!
Flea eggs and larvae not only love carpet, but also the cracks and crevices in our hard wood floors, spaces between floors and baseboards, under furniture and even between couch cushions!
Fact #5: Don’t Wait for Infestation
Fleas really prefer our pets to us when it comes to feeding, so by the time we are being bitten, it is likely that there is an overwhelming flea infestation in the home. Our pets will be the first signal that there are fleas in the home. Biting at the base of the tail means fleas until proven otherwise, and pets displaying this classic behavior should be treated for fleas even if none are seen. Ticks are less discriminate about their host preference and will attach to pets as well as humans.
Fact #6: One Measure Isn’t Enough
Some environmental treatments can be effective, but daily close inspection of pets and children is necessary if you live in an area where ticks, go to the beach or spend time in grassy or wooded areas. Remove any ticks as soon as they are seen.
Fact #7: Ticks Make Humans Sick
Most people are aware of Lyme disease, but ticks also carry several other diseases that can harm pets and people such Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesia, and likely others that have not yet been identified. Ticks can also carry a disease that causes a severe allergic reaction to red meat in people.
Fact #8: Most Conditions are Treatable
The most common tick transmitted diseases are screened for annually in conjunction with your pet’s heartworm screening so that we can identify and treat any infection. Since pets are so good at hiding disease, active tick borne disease can sometimes go undetected. If your pet is positive for any of the tick borne diseases, we will recommend a small chemistry panel and CBC to be sure there is no active infection. Most tick diseases are treatable if detected early on.
There are many effective ways to prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a nuisance and health threat to you and your family. As the best vets in Raleigh we’re here to help design a flea and tick prevention plan that best fits your pet’s life style!