Parasite Prevention and Treatment
Fleas and ticks are highly seasonal problems in our region. However, it is not impossible to find fleas and ticks on our pets during winter. Fleas can survive in our homes and certain species of ticks can complete their life cycle in our houses! Come see us to discuss our various prevention products.
How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?
Fleas and ticks are easily visible to the naked eye once you know how to identify them. The coat of an animal heavily infested by fleas will be covered in droppings and flea dirt. These often look like little black commas and are scattered on the dorsal surface of the animal’s hair. An adult blood-engorged tick can be easily seen and palpated, but more immature tick stages, such as nymphs, can be as small as poppy seeds and are extremely hard to detect on your pet. If in doubt, our veterinary team is here to help.
Why is it so important to treat and prevent fleas?
Prevention is key, given the rapid proliferation between adult fleas (rapid environmental contamination) and the easy transmission from one pet to another!
Adult fleas feed on your pet’s blood and can cause anemia when there is a heavy parasite burden. They can also cause flea allergy dermatitis. The flea saliva causes this allergic reaction with itching and skin lesions. What’s more, they can be a vector in the transmission of tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum). Fleas can also easily jump from one pet to another!
What are treatment options for dogs with ticks?
When you see a tick on your dog, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. Qualified animal health technicians at our clinic use specially designed tick tools to facilitate their removal. An owner who is comfortable doing this can remove one on his own by purchasing a specific tool in a veterinary clinic (tick remover or tick twister). We recommend wearing gloves to avoid direct contact with the tick. A blood test will then be recommended to screen for tick transmitted diseases. Our veterinarians will then be able to advise you if your dog has contracted a tick-borne disease.
What are simple steps for treating fleas in a senior cat?
We offer safe products in our clinic that treat and prevent fleas in senior cats. We also offer products that do not require a veterinary prescription, you just need to know your cat’s weight and age. Most treatments involve topical applications once a month for a minimum of 3 months. All household pets susceptible to fleas need to be treated!