Aug 06 2015

The Disease Duo: Fleas and Ticks

Hello again.  As I sit here looking out of my window, I realize that I have it pretty good.  Warm in the winter, cool in the summer – either from the AC or the great breeze from outside.  The summer is just a wonderful time of year – lots of sunshine and green things growing like crazy!  But, the warm weather can bring out some pretty nasty parasites.  Take, for example, my buddies that live outdoors.  They are well fed, but, without some more help from the doctors and staff here at the clinic, they would be feeding some pretty icky critters.  Little Boy and Junior seem to like the outdoors just fine, but before they hooked up with the Animal Hospital, they had a rough time, just like some of your indoor/outdoor kitties might – and dogs too.

What the heck am I talking about?  Well, fleas and ticks!  I’ve even had fleas a time or two (it is a risk, living in a veterinary hospital – you know, all of those sick dogs and cats coming in).  Luckily, there are a lot of options out there to help keep your pets parasite free, just like me!  There is the Seresto collar (don’t get those yucky, smelly, powdery ones – they don’t work!), lots of options for topical, or spot-on, treatments, as well as oral medications like Bravecto and Nexgard.  You might be asking – why is this important – they don’t eat much!  Well, you’d be wrong…dead wrong!

Just last week, a poor kitty came in on her death bed (almost literally – her temperature was unreadable, it was so low) because she had so many fleas that they sucked out all of her blood, almost.  It was very sad because the medicines that I just told you about are so effective.  Luckily, the doctors were able to get her warmed up and eating.  They gave her some medicine to rev up her red blood cell production and get her feeling better.  AND, the first thing that they did was put some topical flea control on her!  That Advantage Multi does wonders to kill fleas.  The next morning, there were TONS of dead fleas in her kennel.  ALL DEAD!  DEATH TO FLEAS!  Oh, sorry.

Not only can they suck a cat, or dog, dry, but fleas also carry parasites that infect our gastrointestinal track when we try to groom them off.  Yuck.  AND, they can get into your home, set up shop, and start biting YOU.  Not fun because they can be pretty tough to get out of your house.  In the fall, those fleas get really aggressive about getting in because they know the snow and cold is coming, and they hate the cold.  How do you stop them?  Make sure that you’re pets are protected with a medication to kill those fleas before they can get in.  Sometimes, if there are a LOT of fleas, you might even need to put the topical medications on more often – like every 2-3 weeks.  You have to think of the medication like a little pool o’ medication.  Every flea that walks through that pool (gets on your pet – stay with me for the metaphore) picks up a little bit of it, killing the flea, but making the pool smaller.  If only 1 or 5 fleas walk through the “pool” before it “evaporates”, they will all die.  BUT, if you have an army of fleas walking through, it will get used up before end of the parade and some of the fleas may live.  That’s why you might need to put it on more often.

Ugh – enough about fleas because ticks are worse.  They will suck the blood out of any animal they can stick to.  They can be so bad, they can kill a MOOSE!  And, they carry some nasty diseases as well.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Lyme Disease, but do you know about AnaplasmosisEhrlichiosisRocky Mountain Spotted feverBOBCAT FEVER??  There is even a tick whose bite can make you allergic to meat!  I’m not kidding!  Thankfully, that only happens in people (so far as I’ve been told – vegetarian cats just DON’T work!).  So, it is super duper important to make sure that your pets are protected from ticks.  And, because tick killing medicines are sometimes the same ones that kill fleas, you may have to apply it more often than every four weeks if there are a lot of ticks around.

All of this putting medicine on can be tough to keep track of.  That’s why I like my Seresto collar.  It works for 5-8 months (since I don’t do a lot of swimming, mine will last the whole 8 months) which will cover most, if not all, of the summer.  And I don’t have to remember to do anything, just make sure my collar is on.  Easy.  Bravecto is very easy too, but it’s only for dogs…so far.  One pill every 3 months and great protections.  Heck, it even kills mange mites!

If you have any questions about killing fleas and ticks, call the office and one of the technicians can help you out.  I’m all worn out, and grossed out, so that’s it for  me for today.  I’m up for a nap!



WatertownAH | Uncategorized

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