May 6, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions About Fleas and Ticks
As summer approaches, it’s time for us to talk about flea and tick season and preventive care for your cats and dogs. Check out this month’s blog post to learn more about the threat that fleas and ticks pose to your pets and how to avoid these risks with flea/tick preventive medication.
Are fleas and ticks harmful to both dogs and cats?
Yes. Fleas and ticks are harmful to both dogs and cats. Flea infestations cause inflammation, skin infection, blood loss, and can transmit tapeworms. Ticks spread numerous diseases including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and others. Additionally, in more severe infestations, ticks can also lead to anemia due to blood loss.
How can you tell if your pet has fleas or ticks?
Ticks start out the size of a poppy seed and then grow as they engorge with blood. Often, ticks can be very easy to miss so most people either happen to find one after it has been feeding for several days and is engorged or they find a sore left on the pet where the tick detached itself after it was done feeding.
Fleas spend less time on your pet than ticks do, jumping on to bite a few times and then jumping off to lay eggs in the environment. The most common sign you can use to determine if your pet has fleas is to look for “flea dirt” in your pet’s hair with a flea comb. Flea dirt will look like dirt but when sprayed with hydrogen peroxide will bubble and turn red because it is actually dried blood or flea poop.
What are the symptoms of fleas and ticks?
The most common symptoms of fleas are hair loss and itching, primarily in the “pants region” of your pet. You may also see red skin, scabs, and flea dirt.
A tick on your pet maycreate a small area of hair loss right around the tick while it is feeding, but most pet owners will report small, perfectly and circular scabs with swelling underneath; these wounds are from where ticks used to be attached to your pet.
How do I prevent fleas and ticks on dogs and cats?
The best way to prevent fleas and ticks is to use an FDA-approved flea/tick prevention on your pet according to the product label. Older flea/tick preventatives that were approved by the EPA as pesticides– which are often sold over the counter– do not seem to work as well as newer, FDA-approved prescription flea/tick products.
How do I treat my dog for fleas and ticks?
The best treatment for an active flea/tick infestation is to treat your pet with an effective flea/tick preventative. It will take 3 months of continued use of a product to break the flea life cycle and rid your house of a current infestation.
How often do cats and dogs need flea and tick treatment?
The vast majority of flea/tick preventative products need to be applied every 30 days. Bravecto is the only currently approved flea/tick product that has been shown to be effective with an every 12 week application. However, this product would need to be applied every 8 weeks to be an effective preventative for the lone star tick.
Do ticks and fleas affect humans?
Fleas prefer not to bite humans and will only do so out of desperation. Fleas need a blood meal from a dog or cat in order for their eggs to hatch and human blood is not satisfactory for their reproductive process. However, in more severe home infestations, people will be bitten and may report swelling, itching, and local irritation.
Ticks, however, enjoy feeding on humans as much as other animal species and do not have a preference that we are aware of. Ticks spread numerous blood-borne infections across species including, but not limited to, the most commonly known Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These diseases can cause life-long harm and permanent damage to many individuals infected with them. Additionally, ticks will cause local swelling and irritation.
Fleas and ticks are no fun for you or your pets to deal with. That’s why our staff members at Carrollton Animal Hospital are always ready to assist you with flea and tick prevention.
If you have any questions or would like to start your pet on a flea/tick preventive, feel free to call our fur-riendly team members at Carrollton Animal Hospital at (330) 627-4898 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.