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Paw prints: Fleas, ticks and worms … Oh my!

Community Columnist

Options for parasite control are becoming more numerous and deciding which product to give your pet can be overwhelming. Your veterinarian can guide you on what is best for your pet based on his lifestyle and general health, but the following will summarize what parasites you should be concerned about for dogs and cats in our region.

The best way to protect our pets and families from parasitic diseases is to treat your dogs and cats year-round. Along with preventative medication, regular check-ups are also extremely important to test and treat for any external or internal parasites that are discovered.

Fleas and Ticks are external parasites that are not only irritating, but can also transmit serious diseases. Fleas can transmit tapeworms and the bacteria that causes cat-scratch fever in humans. Fleas can also cause life-threatening blood loss in severe cases. Ticks can transmit numerous diseases to people and pets, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Tick control not only prevents our pets from getting sick, it also protects humans by keeping live ticks out of our homes.

Current products available for killing fleas are highly effective, yet fleas continue to be a significant problem for many. A single female flea can lay as many as 50 eggs per day, and these eggs fall off of your pet causing the majority of the flea population to be in the surrounding environment.

For this reason, cleaning pet bedding and vacuuming frequently along with year-round flea control for all pets in the home is the best course of action. Pets that live exclusively indoors should also receive flea control. If you feel your pet is flea free because you do not see them, you may be mistaken. Finding live fleas can be difficult because our pets frequently lick them away, and fleas do not prefer human blood, so finding a flea on you is rare.

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