Be Wary of Scary Bugs: Preventing Pet Parasites All Year ‘Round

Be Wary of Scary Bugs: Preventing Pet Parasites All Year ‘Round

Schertz_iStock_000014993047_LargeIt’s not the kind of thing that inspires warm, fuzzy thoughts in pet owners, but preventing pet parasites is one of our major concerns. With the hottest days of the year on the rise, parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms are just waiting in the wings, ready for the next blood meal. If it makes your skin crawl to think of your pet becoming the next victim of vector-borne disease, follow along on our guide to preventing pet parasites.

Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworms, Oh, My!

Preventing pet parasites is an important goal once the warmer wakes up the insect world. Just like Dorothy fretting over lions, tigers, and bears in The Wizard Of Oz, pet owners may worry about the health risks
from the bites of the following fearless foes:

  • Fleas – These pesky, minute bugs spring onto your pet and have the potential to lay thousands of eggs inside your lovely abode, and even reside there in a state of dormancy throughout the colder months. If not on a year-round preventative, pets may be pulled into a serious scratching frenzy that can result in bright, bald, or bloody patches on the coat, or, if allergic to flea saliva, skin infections.

Fleas also transmit cat scratch disease, murine typhus, and plague, which can gravely affect you and your family. Having a grasp on the life-cycle of fleas will help towards managing an infestation. The fleas feeding on your pet are adults, but flea pupae, larvae, and newly emerged adults are found on or around your pet’s bedding. Vacuuming puts a significant dent in a flea infestation, and should be done frequently. Misapplication of flea medication can be dangerous for your pet, and we are here to help you manage infestation, and your pet’s yearly flea preventative.

  • Ticks – Related to the spider family, ticks are not to be trifled with. Capable of transmitting Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis, ticks are found in heavily wooded or overgrown areas, and even the shrubbery in your own backyard. Unlike fleas, ticks lie in wait for a new host to walk by. Deer are an important host for ticks, and with habitat encroachment, deer are now seen closer to human population.

Red flags that your pet is suffering from Lyme disease include joint stiffness or lameness, fever, pain, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Your dog can be vaccinated against the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes Lyme disease. Likewise, a screening test can be a helpful addition to your pet’s wellness care, as well as tick preventatives applied year-round.

  • Heartworms – When a mosquito bites an infected host, microfilariae, or heartworm larvae, are picked up and then spread to another host. This larvae travel through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs, eventually causing significant respiratory distress, heart and kidney damage and even death. Currently, treatment for heartworm is only available to suffering dogs, and it can be risky and expensive. Both cats and dogs should receive a heartworm preventative every month of the year, and, if there is a lapse, a quick test can illuminate if your pet has been exposed.

Preventing Pet Parasites Is Easy!

Not only is parasite prevention important for your pet’s health, wellness, and longevity, but it’s something that can be easily integrated into your routine. We can recommend the right topical or oral medications that combat fleas, ticks, and heartworm, and hope you will let us know how we can help you in preventing pet parasites this summer – and throughout the coming year.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!