Preventing Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworms
Although parasites are small, their impact to your pet’s health can be mighty. And, just as we are about to welcome in spring and all of its wonderful blooms and outdoor recreation opportunities, here they come! Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and all of the other parasites that like to spring into full force at the arrival of warmer weather are on their way.
While parasite prevention isn’t the most exciting thing you have going on this season, preventing fleas, ticks, and other parasites is paramount to protecting the health of your pet, and, in some cases, your family.
The Physical Toll of Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes
Aside from the discomfort of itchy bites, parasites can wreak havoc on our pet’s health and create risks for our families. In addition, common external parasites can be difficult to rid our homes and yards of, and open the door for internal parasites, such as intestinal worms.
Fleas, although certainly viewed as a springtime bane, can create more serious problems than you might think. Many pets develop an allergic response to flea bites which can develop into hot spots and dermatitis. Fleas are also the carriers of tapeworms, which can lead to vomiting and weight loss, and are zoonotic – meaning they can be transmitted to your family members. Another zoonotic disease that is linked to fleas is cat scratch disease or CSD, which is relatively innocuous in cats, but can cause fever, headaches, and fatigue in humans.
Tick-borne Lyme disease is relatively well-known and a concern for most dog owners. But, Lyme disease is not the only serious problem associated with ticks. In fact, Veterinary Week reported a 30% increase in the rate of canines exposure to illnesses transmitted by ticks. These include ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and bartonellosis.
Heartworm disease is transmitted from mosquito bites and is one of the more serious vector-borne diseases. While heartworm tends to have a greater rate among canines, the infection is now being found in cats and on the rise among shelter cats in particular, and is why we recommend year-round prevention for both dogs and cats.
The most effective way to stop parasites from transmitting these diseases and other illnesses to your pet is through year-round preventives and vaccinations.
At-Home Parasite Prevention
Along with the preventives we recommend for your pet during your pet during his or her wellness exam, there are some ways you can help reduce your pet’s exposure to pests.
- Vacuum fabrics, pet beds, and floors frequently to prevent any larvae or fleas from sticking around.
- Keep weeds and overgrown grasses from harboring parasites and other critters by keeping your yard well-maintained.
- Clean up your pet’s waste every day.
- Keep standing water off of the property to avoid attracting mosquitoes.
While it is impossible to safeguard your pet from every itch or bite, it is entirely possible to protect him or her from parasites and their host of diseases. If you need to schedule your pet’s wellness exam or for more information on parasite preventives, please call our office.
By taking a few precautions, you can take the bite out of spring and enjoy the season with your best friend.
“Dr. Yetter’s professional & compassionate care enabled us to have Lady as a member of our family for over 17 years. Through his knowledge, extensive research, and willingness to reach out, he provided Lady with a long quality life in spite of numerous health issues. We are eternally grateful.”
— Diane & Terry Svob
“Dr. Yetter and the staff at Prairie Ridge have given excellent care to my family of pets for about 20 years. I always feel comfortable asking questions and knowing I will get complete, caring answers. Dr. Yetter researches to find the best treatment options. My cats and dog are family to me, and we trust Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic.”
“We are so grateful for the hard work and extra research Dr. Yetter did for our Tansy-cat to find out why she wasn’t eating. If there is a time when your most precious friend is ill and you need to trust someone to care for them, Dr. Yetter is definitely that person! He went above and beyond to do everything he could to save our beautiful Tansy.”
— Tom & Bev Berberett
“My pets have been patients of Dr. Yetter and his great staff for many years, and I have always been grateful for their efficiency and helpfulness. Having good care right here in Havana is a big plus!”
— Jan McFarlin
“I began to bring in my labs into PRVC when I started working there, and was happy to have such a caring and knowledgeable doctor to take care of two of my best friends. It always amazes me just how much care goes into each and every animal, let alone the perseverance of Dr. Yetter and staff (I should call them family) in working out how to treat each and every problem.”
— Chris Johnson