They may not be lions and tigers and bears, but these pesky little pests can make a season of distress for both people and their pets. So read on, take action, and know that prevention is the best defense against the peskiest pests!
WHEN ‘SQUITO BITES GO STRAIGHT TO THE HEART! Yes, just one mosquito bite can lead to heartworm! This parasite lives in the heart, and infections can be fatal. Heartworm disease can affect both dogs and cats in every state, and throughout the year. In its early stages, heartworm disease has no symptoms. It’s important that pets are tested for heartworm before given any type of preventative medication.
LYME DISEASE: TICK-TOCK… Ticks are tiny bloodsuckers that inflict painful bites, can cause paralysis, and can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, tularemia, and St. Louis encephalitis. They prey on the blood of dogs, horses, deer, birds, rodents and – yes – people. There are hundreds of kinds of ticks, including the dog tick and the deer tick. Ticks live in cracks and crevices in the home or outside in vegetation, such as grassy meadows, woods, brush and weeds. They cannot fly or jump, but they have a knack for finding a host. Oftentimes, they will wait in wooded or grassy areas and attach themselves to any living creature that brushes them.
The first human outbreak of Lyme disease was identified in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. Today, Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in North America. Clinical signs of Lyme disease in pets include loss of appetite, lameness, lethargy and fever. In dogs, it can cause skin, orthopedic, immunologic, kidney, and neurologic symptoms. Although Lyme disease is an illness common to humans and animals, there is no evidence that it can be transmitted from one to the other.
A FLEA ROADBLOCK If your pet has ever suffered from an infestation of fleas, you know how maddening it can be for both of you. These tenacious little parasites not only cause annoying itching, they can also be carriers for worms and other diseases, and many animals are allergic to flea bites. Pets can develop a painful irritation called flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD.
THREE UGLY PARASITES – ONE ANSWER: PREVENT THE INFESTATION! Monthly preventatives provide year round protection against heartworm, ticks and fleas, as well as other parasites. Note that most over-the-counter products aren’t effective and can be toxic. Check with your vet about treatments that are very safe, effective and easy to administer. And instead of getting bit –bite back!