This post will start a three part series outlining the common summer parasites of the region, diseases linked to these parasites, and what you can do to protect yourself and your pet throughout the year. As always, if you have a health concern regarding your pet please do not hesitate to contact us at either office to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. There are preventative treatments for all of the parasites I am going to discuss.
The last few winters in Southern Ohio have been exceedingly mild, and though it has been great for us humans this is not-so-great news for our furriest family members. In the last two years we have treated an increased number of patients for flea infestations and flea allergies, and we urge everyone to use year-round flea prevention on their dogs and cats.
Did you know?:
-Adult fleas account for just 5% of the total number of fleas in your environment.
-If there is no host available when fleas hatch they can survive for a long time without feeding.
-Cold weather reduces—but does not eliminate—flea infestation.
-Fleas can, and do, infest totally indoor-only animals.
-Fleas can transmit “cat scratch fever” to people and can serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms.
Due to all of the problems associated with flea infestations we tell all of our clients to keep all pets on year-round, monthly prevention. We recommend Frontline Plus, Advantage and Comfortis, just to name a few products available. As always, when considering a new medication we recommend you consult with our office first so we can help you choose the best prevention for your pet(s).
If an infestation becomes severe enough you may also have to treat your home and outdoor environment with Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). Always follow the instructions on the label of any product you use, some products can be harmful to people and pets when first applied. In some cases you may need to hire a professional exterminator to treat your home and yard.
Remember these final tips when considering preventative measures for fleas:
-Do not use flea collars as your sole source of flea prevention. They are often only effective around the head and neck, they do not provide protection over the entire pet. (We recommend using flea collars in your vacuum cleaner bag, though! This will help control any fleas or flea eggs that are picked up when you vacuum your house.)
-Do not use “grocery store brand” topical preventions like Hartz or Sargents. These products use old generation insecticides which can be harmful to your pet. We have also found that they are not effective in the control of fleas, and in some cases fleas have been found to be naturally resistant to many over-the-counter products.