laurenletter

Fleas. Ticks. Disease.

In Health Tips on March 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm

As March brings in warmer weather, as a pet owner, we need to consider the creatures that come with it, fleas and ticks! Vet’s push flea and tick preventative products for a reason, there are plenty of problems that join them.

Fleas and ticks are tiny insects and external parasites that live off of blood from other animals. When they feed off of an animal’s blood, there is a chance the insect could be carrying a disease. The transmission of the disease can easily be transferred from the insect to the blood stream of the animal causing serious problems. Without proper prevention and treatment, you could have a real problem on your hands.

Problems: 

Here are some common (not all) problems and diseases animals’ acquire from fleas and ticks.

1.    Flea Bite Dermatitis

This is an allergic reaction to flea saliva. This causes your pet to become very itchy and even could lose hair. After eliminating any fleas, ointments and antihistamines can help cure your animals need to itch!

2.    Tapeworms

Fleas carry a disease called Dipylidium caninum, and if a pet ingests an infected flea, it now has tapeworms. Treatment requires pills or a paste to clear the tapeworms away.

3.    Lyme Disease

Deer ticks can carry a disease called Borrelia burgdorferi. Signs your dog could have lyme disease include: fever, anorexia, weakness, and pain in their joints. If the disease is not caught and treated, your dog could develop kidney failure, heart abnormalities, or seizures. Treatment includes a heavy dosing of antibiotics along with IV fluids.

4.    Canine Ehrlichiosis

Brown dog ticks carry the disease called Ehrlichia canis. Signs your dog is infested include: fever, enlarged lymph nodes, anorexia, stiffness, swelling of limbs, and coughing. If not treated, your dog could develop anemia, have a decreased platelet count, and start easily bleeding. In bad cases of ehrlichiosis, dogs can develops kidney failure, enlarged spleen, respiratory issues, and severe weight loss. Treatment includes heavy antibiotics, IV fluids, and blood transfusions.

5.    Tick Paralysis

A variety of ticks can develops a toxin in their saliva that causes dogs to develop paralysis. It starts in the limbs and can move to the lungs causing respiratory issues leading to death. Treatment includes removing all ticks before symptoms get worse.

Products:

As you can see, all of these diseases can be pretty traumatic to your pet. The thing is, prevention is the best solution. By using flea and tick medications for prevention, you could save your pet stress and save you money. Especially if you are living anywhere near woods, you need to use these products.

Every Veterinarian will offer different products, but here are a few that I think work well:  

There are also collars that contain an ingredient called amitraz, which kills off ticks, but honestly these do not work well and are pretty gross.

Another product I like is Frontline Spray. I think this is a great product to spray on your dog after a hike through the woods and you come home with a dog full of ticks. It’s a quick way to get rid of them. Just don’t just this product daily and make sure to read the instructions.

dogs!Best Practice:

As you can see I am an advocate of using flea and tick products. It may cost money to prevent a disease that might never even happen, but if it does, it can take weeks and thousands of dollars to fix. Growing up my family had a golden retriever named Jesse who acquired Lyme disease. He became stiff in his joints and after a snap 4DX test from the vet; we found he had Lyme disease. With antibiotics he was cleared!

So, since it is March and the weather is getting warmer, remember to start your flea and tick preventions! What’s your favorite product? Anything I missed?

Comment, post, question, and learn. Lets connect!

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