It Begins With Prevention
Dogs and cats share the same fleas, and fleas can travel from one pet to another. Ticks are everywhere, and the diseases they carry can pose serious risks to your pet. Thus, it is critical to protect all of your pets from fleas and ticks with high-quality prevention products. Dogs should receive a yearly heartworm test that includes blood tests for tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.
Dangers of Fleas
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)
When fleas bite, they inject a small amount of saliva into the skin. Proteins in the saliva cause an intensely itchy response to sensitive dogs and cats. Itching and hair loss down the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs is often associated with FAD. A single flea bite can cause itching for days.
Scratching, licking, and chewing are the most common signs that your pet may have fleas. These behaviors will often lead to the growth of bacteria, causing skin infections on your dog or cat.
Fleas feed on your pet’s blood. Very young, old, or debilitated animals with severe flea infestations may become anemic from blood loss.
Dogs and cats can get tapeworms from ingesting fleas. Heavy tapeworm infestations can be more serious in young animals and can cause a lack of growth, anemia, and intestinal blockages.
Dangers of Ticks
Lyme disease can cause generalized pain, lameness, or limping that can appear suddenly swollen joints, and fever. Many affected pets don’t show symptoms right away, or the symptoms will come and go. If the symptoms aren’t apparent, the disease may be widespread throughout the body by the time the pet is diagnosed.
Much like Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis causes lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Infected pets may develop other conditions including a periodic loss of platelets, which can cause bruising and bleeding.
In the early stages of the disease, infected pets may have a fever, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory distress, weight loss, bleeding disorders, and, occasionally, neurological disturbances. The pet will then go through a sub-clinical stage and will not display symptoms of the disease. If the infection goes untreated, clinical Ehrlichiosis occurs because the immune system is not able to eliminate the organism. The pet may experience bleeding, anemia, neurological problems, and swollen limbs. In some cases, the bone marrow fails and the pet may require a blood transfusion.
Treat Your Pet and Control your Environment
Apply a safe, topical treatment on your pet’s skin monthly. Products like Advantage II kill all stages of the flea life cycle and prevent fleas for one month. Advantix II and Frontline Plus kill ticks when they come in contact with your pet.
Fleas are typically abundant in areas where your pet rests and sleeps. Vacuum the entire living space daily to remove eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. Wash all pet bedding, family bedding, and rugs in hot, soapy water. Maintain your yard by removing fallen leaves and keeping the grass short. Pet-safe flea and tick yard sprays can be applied for severe infestations.