Fleas, Ticks, Mites!!! Keep creepy, crawling, itchy things away from your pet this season.
Excerpted from avma.org.
No pet is immune from external parasites and, with our mild winter, these parasites may be a constant threat. Parasites can be extremely irritating to pets (and owners) and can cause serious skin problems or even carry disease. Thankfully, we now have preventive medications that can keep them at bay.
Fleas: Your pet can pick up fleas wherever an infestation exists, often in areas frequented by other cats and dogs. Adult fleas are dark brown, no bigger than a sesame seed, and able to move rapidly over your pet’s skin.
Once the flea chooses your pet as a host, female fleas begin laying eggs withing 24 hours. These eggs fall from your pet onto any place or surface that your pet goes. Tiny, worm-like larvae hatch from the eggs and burrow into carpets, under furniture, or into soil before spinning a cocoon. The cocooned flea pupae can lie dormant (inactive) for weeks before emerging as adults that are ready to infest (or re-infest) your pet. The result is a flea life cycle of anywhere from 12 days to 6 months, depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. It's best to prevent fleas, rather than wait until you have an infestation. Whether for prevention or extermination, we will recommend an appropriate flea control plan for your pet based on your needs, your pet’s needs and the severity of the flea infestation.
Ticks: are commonly found in wooded areas and any animal (or human) that enters these environments is at risk of becoming a tick’s host. There are many different species of ticks that can affect dogs and cats. Ticks are most often found around your dog’s neck, in the ears, in the folds between the legs and the body, and between the toes, but they can be found anywhere on the body and are usually easily seen or felt. Cats may have ticks on their neck or face. Ticks are capable of spreading serious infectious diseases (such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and others) to the pets and the people on which they feed. Disease risk varies by geographic area and tick species.
When you find one or more ticks on your pet remove them by carefully using tweezers to firmly grip the tick as close to the pet’s skin as possible and gently and steadily pulling the tick free without twisting it or crushing the tick during removal. Crushing, twisting or jerking the tick out of the skin while its head is still buried could result in leaving the tick’s mouth parts in your pet’s skin; this can cause a reaction and may become infected. After removing the tick, crush it while avoiding contact with tick fluids that can carry disease. Do not attempt to smother the tick with alcohol or petroleum jelly, or apply a hot match to it, as this may cause the tick to regurgitate saliva into the wound and increase the risk of disease if the tick is infected.
Be sure to discuss tick prevention with us. Many of the medications that prevent fleas also include prevention for ticks. It's advisable to protect your pet from ticks year round.
Ear mites: are common in young cats and dogs, and generally confine themselves to the ears and surrounding area. Signs of ear mite infestation include excessive head shaking and scratching of the ears. A brown or black ear discharge is common with ear mite infections, and secondary infections with bacteria or yeast can occur. Mites are tiny and individual mites may be seen only with the aid of a microscope. A swab of the discharge is usually examined under a microscope to confirm the presence of ear mites.
We treat ear mites with a thorough ear cleaning and medication. Early treatment prevents bleeding and further aural damage.
Look for fleas, ticks, and coat abnormalities any time you groom your dog or cat or when you return home from areas that are likely to have higher numbers of these parasites.
Call us if your pet excessively scratches, chews, or licks his/her coat, or persistently shakes his/her head or scratches his/her ears.
Let us know about all family pets when one pet becomes infested. Some parasites cycle among pets, making control of infestations difficult unless other pets are considered.
Tell us if you have attempted any parasite remedies, as this may affect our recommendation.
Be especially careful when applying insecticides to cats, as cats are particularly sensitive to these products. Never use a product that is not approved for cats because the results could be lethal.
Let us treat your pet. We can offer technical expertise and can assist you in identifying products that are most likely to effectively and safely control your pet’s parasite problem.
We are now proud affiliates with Sinclair Community College providing training and practical experience for their Veterinary Technology program.
West Milton Veterinary Clinic 23 Emerick Road West Milton, OH 45383 937-698-4485