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April 22, 2021
Amy Carotenuto

Flea and Tick Season... Yuk

Spring is upon us with summer right around the corner….Also known as flea and tick season….Yuk. Luckily, your veterinarian can help you keep your pet safe.

Ticks can transmit diseases to animals, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and more. Symptoms of tick-borne illnesses may not appear until months after your pet has been infected. Tick-borne diseases can cause symptoms ranging from swollen lymph nodes to anemia. Untreated pets can even die from tick-borne illnesses.

If you’ve ever seen an animal with tick paralysis you may have been scared to death. The good news about tick paralysis is it’s temporary. The culprit tick is usually found at the top of the spine. Once the tick is removed and the pet is bathed, paralysis usually subsides within hours. Sometimes a vet may prescribe medications to speed up the process, but that is not always necessary.

Ticks latch on to the skin and feed on your pet's blood. If they remain attached to the skin long enough, they can release the bacteria that causes Lyme disease into your pet.

Lyme disease causes joint inflammation, pain, swelling, stiffness, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and more. Depending on how quickly treatment begins, dogs may develop chronic health problems as a result of a Lyme disease. Cats can also develop Lyme disease, although it’s only known to have happened in laboratory settings.

Check your pet’s coat when they come in from outside. Ticks especially like to burrow in areas between the toes, under the collar or at the base of the tail.

Fleas may not cause diseases like ticks, however they make your pet itchy and uncomfortable.

Pets that have fleas may scratch constantly causing skin irritation and sometimes even infection. Pets are often allergic to fleas and end up with hairloss all along their backside. Pets with and infestation of fleas may become anemic. An animal can actually die from a severe enough flea infestation.

Flea and tick preventive medications offer an easy way to safeguard your pet's health. The treatments kill adult ticks and fleas and also prevent larvae and eggs from maturing.

Flea and tick preventions come in topical form, where you just place a few drops under the fur on the scruff of your pet’s neck. They come in pill or treat form if that’s your preference.

Most veterinarians don’t recommend the old fashioned over the count flea collars. I have bathed many flea infested animals upon arrival at FHS. Many had flea collars with fleas crawling all over the collar. There are prescription flea collars that work.

There are sprays and shampoos that work, but remember a flea only spends about 5% of its time on your pet, so unless you treat the environment, shampoos and sprays aren’t enough to take care of a flea or tick problem.

Talk to your veterinarian or come see us about which product suits you and your pet the most. At FHS we carry a variety of preventatives and we have also recently partnered with Covetrus online pharmacy, so if there is a product that we don’t carry at the shelter, you can still purchase it through Covetrus. Your purchase will help support the animals within our shelter.
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