Unless you’re an entomologist, parasites probably bug you. They’re creepy, crawly, and have the potential to cause all sorts of health problems in your pet. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are the main offenders, but with year-round parasite prevention you can kick them to the proverbial curb.
No Fleas! Please?
Fleas get inside the home via pets or people. Mostly picked up in woodpiles, leaf litter, shady areas, mulch, or grass thatch, they can be deposited there by squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, opossums, and others.
While they can wreak havoc in your house, a single flea can lay eggs on your pet, developing into larvae, pupae, and adult fleas before you know it. Because it can take a few months to fully eradicate a flea infestation, it’s best to stop the cycle before it starts by using a monthly parasite preventative year round.
Likewise, fleas can remain dormant inside your home during the colder months, only to awake and take over when the spring comes.
Blood-suckers already have a pretty terrible reputation, but when they spread disease, they become truly awful. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis are all transmitted from ticks to pets (and other animals). However, when parasite prevention is maintained throughout the year, your pet is protected from threats like the deer tick, brown dog tick, lone star tick, and American dog tick.
Lyme disease has been found in all 50 states. If your pet frequents wooded areas, we recommend having him or her tested for tick-borne disease and vaccinated against Lyme disease. But remember, your pet doesnt have to be in the deep woods to pick up ticks – they can easily be in your own backyard so you should be checking your pet often.
The Heartbreak of Heartworm
When a heartworm-infected mosquito takes a blood meal from a pet, it deposits microscopic heartworms (called microfilariae) into the bloodstream. The microfilariae develop into larvae and then adult worms within 6 months. The worms, if left alone, can survive inside the lungs and heart for years.
Symptoms can be subtle, nonexistent, or non-specific in some pets. Others may exhibit a persistent cough, reluctance towards exertion, reduced appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and fatigue after exercise. Heartworm disease is treatable (but expensive) in dogs, but treatment is expensive and will require frequent veterinary visits, crate rest and severe exercise restriction. There is not a cure for cats at this time. Because of this, heartworm testing and year-round parasite prevention administered once a month is essential.
Owners of strictly indoor-only animals may mistakenly decide their cat or dog isn’t at risk for contracting diseases from fleas, mosquitoes, or ticks. While we understand this assumption, it doesn’t account for the possibility of accidental escapes to the outdoors or the potential of owners transporting parasites to their pets indoors. That’s why it’s best to play it safe and get on board with year-round parasite prevention.
Parasite Prevention All Year
If you have any questions about parasite prevention or other ways you can protect your pet, we’re always happy to speak with you. Until then, enjoy the lovely weather!