One of the unfortunate downsides of the temperate winters we have here in the southeast, is that fleas and ticks never really go out of season. Yes, their activity slows down dramatically, but around here, flea and tick prevention is a year-round commitment to your pet’s health. But don’t believe us. Here’s a top ten list from our friends at Carolinas Veterinary Medical Hospital:
- Fleas can transmit tapeworms and bacteria to other pets as well as their humans.
- Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, Relapsing fever, Colorado tick fever, and Babesiosis.
- Fleas are 6-legged, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of their hosts and can cause allergies, tapeworms, hair loss, skin irritations, and anemia. Some pets have been known to die if the anemia is severe.
- If you’ve never dealt with fleas in your home, trust us, it’s a pain to get rid of them and can be expensive.
- Ticks are spider-like arachnids that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on the blood of their host. There’s simply no way for pet owners to tell if a tick is carrying disease or not, and it only takes one tick bite to infect your dog.
- Some pets are also allergic to flea saliva, which, when bitten, their immune system responds and sets up a hypersensitivity reaction.
- Many of the diseases ticks carry cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches. Some ticks are known to carry more than one of these diseases, which can lead to multiple infections, or co-infection.
- It can be vague and difficult to recognize the symptoms from the diseases ticks spread to their host. Often many pet owners don’t know their dog is suffering from a debilitating tick disease until it’s too late.
- Humans and other non-canine family members can also become infected with the same tick-borne diseases as dogs.
- Plus, they’re just gross. (OK, that’s not a scientific fact, but let’s be honest… they really are!)
Not sure about where to start with flea and tick prevention with your dog? As always, a call to your veterinarian is the best first call you can make!