Monday, May 6, 2013

It’s Flea & Tick Season

As the weather warms up and nature springs back to life in Connecticut, it’s time for every pet owner to be on the watch for fleas and ticks. Though summer is usually the peak of the flea and tick population, spring and fall are also known for bringing along plenty of these annoying arachnids and mites looking for dogs and cats to hitch a ride on. Some vets recommend protecting your pet year round from fleas and ticks but the start of spring is when you need to be the most proactive to help keep your pets safe.

Flea & Tick Dangers
Fleas and ticks can do much more than just make a pet itch. Being blood-sucking parasites it isn’t unusual for fleas and ticks to transit pathogens and skin diseases. If your pet isn’t properly protected this can result in hair loss due to excessive scratching, tapeworms, a flea allergy known as dermatitis and anemia in younger pets. Ticks are also well known for carrying Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrilichiosis. These diseases can lead to lameness, swollen joints, cardiac problems and neurological disorders.

Detecting Fleas & Ticks
Luckily it won’t be very hard to tell that your pet dog or cat has fleas. Constant biting and scratching, sometimes at a furious pace, is usually a sure sign your pet has some unwanted friends crawling on his skin. When you are brushing your pet you should also be on the lookout for small dark spots that usually indicate the presence of ticks. If the tick has been feeding on blood it will probably appear engorged and will be easier to spot.

Treating Pets for Fleas & Ticks
There are several things you can do as a pet owner to protect your dog or cat from fleas and ticks. There are plenty of flea and tick shampoos and powders on the market as well as special collars that are designed to keep fleas and ticks off your pet. However, if they do find their way onto your dog or cat you need to act quickly to get rid of them before they can start causing damage. For ticks you can use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin and pull it off gently without irritating your pet. Another treatment is to practice prevention by watching where your pet roams off to when you let him outside. Keeping dogs and cats away from where fleas and ticks congregate is the best way to avoid contact altogether.