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With the temperatures already warming up and the grass peeking out, spring is fast approaching!

flea tick prevention petsBe ready for warm weather pests and start (or continue) prevention now. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos all come with their own detrimental effects on your pets.

1. Fleas are a common and irritating parasite we encounter pretty much year-round in our area. With such a warm, tepid winter, they are sure to be emerging soon in droves. The adult flea you may see scampering across Fluffy’s belly during a quick belly rub represents only 5% of the flea population in Fluffy’s environment... your house. Flea eggs, larva, and pupae often go unseen and unnoticed until they hatch into adults. A single adult female flea can produce 40 to 50 eggs per day!

If your pet contracts fleas, it’s important to treat your pet and its environment. It often takes up to 3 months to completely control a flea infestation and it is best to seek the help of an exterminator for the environment. In addition to the incessant itching and secondary skin infections many pets suffer from when infested with fleas, fleas also carry a number of diseases including mycoplasma, bartonella, and even tapeworms! With a severe enough infection, fleas can actually cause anemia. To get ahead of these nasty invaders, we recommend keeping your pet on year-round flea prevention.

2. Ticks, while hopefully less numerous on your pet, are still a significant threat. Ticks carry a number of diseases including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Rickettsia), Ehrlichia, tularemia (rabbit fever), cytauxzoonosis (an often fatal blood parasite of cats), Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. They can even carry a neurotoxin which causes a disease called tick paralysis. Some of these diseases are rapidly fatal or difficult to fully eradicate once your pet is infected, so prevention is the best medicine!

3. Mosquitos are the dreaded carrier of heartworm disease. Transmission of heartworm disease has been confirmed year-round in our area of the United States. Heartworm disease isn’t just for dogs – cats can get heartworms too and sometimes the result is fatal. Heartworm disease causes respiratory symptoms as well as heart disease in dogs and causes primarily respiratory disease in cats. Left untreated in dogs, heartworm disease can be fatal. While we can treat heartworm disease in dogs, heartworm disease in cats cannot be treated directly and our only option is to treat the symptoms. Again, the best option is prevention using a heartworm preventative from your veterinarian.

In highly endemic areas or places where there are a lot of mosquitos, dogs may also benefit from a topical mosquito deterrent with their primary heartworm preventative. It is important to remember that these mosquito repellents do not prevent heartworm disease entirely and should not be relied on in place of a true heartworm preventative. Any heartworm preventative in the United States will require a prescription from your veterinarian so if you aren’t getting your prevention from a veterinarian and you aren’t asked for a prescription, that product may not prevent heartworms. It is also important to have your dog’s heartworm test performed yearly in case a dose was missed and to catch any possible resistance to prevention.

Spring into action now and prevent creepy crawlies from ruining your pet’s fun in the sun! Call us at 980-474-2899 or come by to discuss how we can help you and your pet enjoy a bright spring!

For your pet’s health and safety, we carry:

  • Bravecto (an oral three month flea and tick preventative for dogs)
    NexGard (an oral monthly flea preventative for dogs)
    Frontline Gold (a topical flea and tick preventative for dogs and cats with a faster kill rate and better efficacy)
    Seresto (an multi-month flea and tick prevention collar for dogs and cats)
    Advantage Multi (a topical heartworm, flea, and intestinal parasite preventative for dogs and cats)
    Revolution (a topical heartworm, flea, and intestinal parasite preventative for cats and puppies)
    Heartgard Plus (an oral heartworm and intestinal parasite preventative for dogs)
    Sentinel Spectrum (an oral heartworm, intestinal parasite, and tapeworm preventative for dogs, this product also has a flea sterilizer).
Dr. Catherine M. Markijohn earned a DVM degree from North Carolina State University. She has professional interests in feline medicine, pain management, physical therapy and rehabilitation, complementary medicine, gerontology and animal behavior. Dr. MJ also has experience performing stem cell therapy.