It’s that time of year again, yes I’m talking about flea and tick season. It only takes one to cause a problem. Luckily for you there are many preventative options out there. Most are in the form of topicals (the liquid that is applied between the shoulder blades) but there are also oral (by mouth) versions as well. Before we get into the products we offer, here are some interesting facts about our pesky friends. First, we have the ever tiny, but annoying fleas. Fleas are wingless insects that get onto their host by jumping. They can jump 7 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally. There are over 2,000 different species and subspecies of fleas and they have an average of a 2-3 month lifespan. Problems can arise in even that short time so it’s best to be proactive. Female fleas start laying eggs within 35-48 hours after first meal. She can lay around 2,000 eggs over the course of her lifetime which again is only about 2-3 months. Fleas can also be brought into the household on us! Yes, I mean us! They can jump onto our pants and once we enter our home, jump off onto our pets and chow down. Fleas can even live and stay dormant in the carpet for a long time. So it’s good to keep a good cleaning routine and vacuum regularly.
Now let’s talk about ticks. There are more than 800 species of ticks on this planet. Ticks belong to the arachnida class like spiders, mites and scorpions. They have anti-inflammatory and anesthetic compounds in their saliva that make it less likely for their host to notice they have even been bitten. Ticks can live up to 3 years but the majority of them only ever have 3 hosts during that time. There are two different kinds of ticks: hard ticks (ixodidae) and soft ticks (argasidae). Hard ticks are the main ones found in the United States. The main ticks that are found on dogs and cats are the American Dog Tick (woodtick) and that can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, The Lonestar Tick which can transmit ehrlichiosis, The Brown Dog Tick which can transmit ehrlichiosis and a form of anaplasmosis, and last but not least the Deer Tick which can transmit ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and lyme disease. Some symptoms of Lyme disease are sudden onset of lameness that can be accompanied by fever, anorexia and lethargy. Ehrlichia works to destroy white blood cells. Infection results in lethargy, weight loss, anemia, and enlarged lymph nodes and spleen. Anaplasmosis can cause joint pain, high fevers, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and even neurological signs like seizures. Babesiosis can cause jaundice and anemia. Lastly, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause depression, lethargy, anorexia, blood in the urine, discolored spots along the skin, ataxia, and edema in limbs .If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet please call your vet and set up an appointment. Sometimes dogs don’t even show symptoms so it’s good to discuss testing with your vet if your pet comes in contact with ticks.
Now that I have everyone itchy and worried put those fears behind you because fleas and ticks are easily preventable. Some of the popular topicals we offer for dogs are Advantix II, Frontline Tritak, and Revolution to name a few. All of these products cover both fleas and ticks and last for one month at a time. We also have a newer product that is an oral flea and tick preventative for dogs called Bravecto. Not only is this product given orally it also lasts for 3 months. Also we have a flea and tick collar called Seresto that lasts for 8 months. This product is available for both dogs and cats. We can’t forget about the felines of the household. We have Frontline, Revolution and Advantage for them. These products prevent fleas and last for one month at a time. Just remember that these preventatives are made especially for each species so be careful and don’t apply canine medication to a feline. It’s also a good idea to check with your vet first prior to applying or giving any type of flea and tick medication.