Fleas and ticks are a common problem for pet owners, especially during the Summer months when they are particularly prevalent. These parasites rarely cause serious illness by themselves, but they can be very unpleasant for your pet to experience, causing itching, swelling, skin irritations, and more. They can also act as carriers for a range of infectious diseases, many of which could make your pet quite sick. Some of these diseases can even be transmitted to humans in your home.
We have summarized just why flea and tick prevention is so important, and what you can do to keep your pet and your family safe from these pesky parasites.
Fleas are tiny, wingless parasites that burrow into the skin of hosts and consume nutrients via their blood. Flea infestations can be particularly frustrating to deal with for several reasons. Firstly, you can’t see fleas, so you need to look carefully for the signs that your pet is affected. Secondly, they have a very short, efficient lifestyle that enables a small number of fleas to turn into a large infestation within a matter of weeks. And finally, they are notoriously difficult to get rid of!
Common signs that your pet has a flea problem include:
Blood loss from a small number of fleas is rarely problematic for pets, but larger infestations can cause anemia if they repeatedly feed from the same host. Fleas can also carry a range of other diseases, from tapeworms to murine typhus, which can make animals unwell. Many animals are allergic to flea saliva, and this only exacerbates their symptoms and makes life miserable.
Flea and tick preventatives are readily available and affordable, meaning that protecting your pet is relatively simple. There are various types to choose from too, including collars, shampoos, and oral medications. Your vet in Greenwood Village, CO will be happy to help you find the most suitable variety for your pet. Many products offer protection against both fleas and ticks at the same time, making treatment easier and more cost-effective.
Most preventatives need to be administered on a regular basis. This is because their effectiveness lasts only so long before they become less successful at keeping fleas at bay. Make sure you check the recommended schedule on your chosen preventative and administer each dose on time. You can also help to keep fleas out of your home by vacuuming thoroughly regularly and cleaning your pet’s bedding on a weekly basis.
Ticks are another common parasite. Larger than fleas, they attach to animals as they brush past and feed on their blood, swelling in size until they are full. At this point, they drop off and wait for a new host to come by. Ticks also carry infectious diseases like Lyme disease, although their slow rate of feeding means that it usually takes several days to pass infectious materials to their host. This means that if you remove ticks quickly enough, you could prevent any diseases from being passed to your animal. It’s for this reason that we recommend that you check your pet thoroughly every time they come in from outside, particularly if they have been in wooded or grassy areas.
If you are concerned about fleas and ticks and would like further information or advice on keeping your pet safe from these parasites, contact Greenwood Village Veterinary Clinic in Greenwood Village, Colorado at (303) 771-6304 to schedule an appointment.