Flea and Tick Control for Cats and Dogs
Fleas and ticks are often thought of being an inevitable part of pet ownership if you have a cat or dog. These pesky parasites may be tiny, but their effect on your pet and even on your home and family can be significant. Fortunately, if you invest a little time, effort and a small amount of money each month it is possible to ensure that your furry friend is never affected by fleas or ticks. Our experienced and dedicated veterinary team can give you all the advice you need about the best way to protect your pet from fleas and ticks or assist you with treatment for your pet and home should your furbaby already be affected.
What are fleas and why is flea control so important?
Fleas are microscopic, wingless creatures that survive by drinking the blood of your pet. They travel between hosts by jumping, but they can also survive for a great length of time without a meal. One of the biggest problems with fleas is that they have a short life cycle and reproduce at a rapid rate. This means that if your pet has just a few fleas, but they aren’t treated quickly, you could quickly end up with a large infestation. Other reasons to make sure that flea control is a priority include:
- Flea allergy dermatitis, a condition that occurs when animals are allergic to flea saliva, is a cause of significant misery for your pet.
- A large flea infestation can cause your pet to become anemic.
- Fleas also carry a range of infectious diseases and other parasites including tapeworms.
- Pets might be the preferred meal choice for fleas, but they will bite humans too.
- Flea infestations are notoriously hard to get rid of.
What are ticks and why is tick control so important?
Ticks are another type of parasite that can affect cats and dogs. These small, brown, grey or black creatures tend to be found in grassy areas and attach to your pet when she brushes past. They too will consume her blood and swell in size as they do until they are full and drop off. On average, a tick will feed for up to 72 hours before it is sated. Although ticks don’t have the same reproductive capabilities as fleas, it is still important to protect your pet from them because:
- Ticks carry a range of potentially serious diseases including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Babesiosis.
- It isn’t possible to tell if a tick is carrying a disease just by looking at it.
- Some ticks have a neurotoxin in their saliva that causes paralysis – something which can be deadly if the paralysis affects your pet’s diaphragm.
- Ticks can affect humans too, and a tick bite on a human can lead to life-long health complications or even prove fatal.
Preventing fleas and ticks: what you need to know
Prevention of fleas and ticks is easier than ever thanks to the wide variety of different products available, many of which combine flea and tick preventatives into a single solution. Type of product to choose from include:
- Spot on treatments - These are usually administered on the same date every month and placed onto the fur at the back of your pet’s neck.
- Oral medications - These are given in the form of a chewable tablet that again is given monthly. It is important to ensure that your pet eats the entire tablet, or he may not be fully protected.
- Topical products - There are many different shampoos, sprays and other topical products that can prevent fleas and ticks. It is important that these are given as directed. Many owners choose to use these in addition to other preventatives that were considered safe too.
It is essential that, whatever preventative you choose, you administer it exactly as directed and adhering to the appropriate schedule. Preventatives are only effective for a period of time before further doses are required and being late could leave your pet vulnerable.
In addition to the products for pets listed above, it is also possible to buy preventatives that can be used on your yard and property to keep fleas and ticks at bay.
Need more information on flea and tick prevention for your cat or dog? Contact our veterinary clinic today and our experienced team will be delighted to offer their assistance.