As the weather warms up, it’s nice to spend time outside with our furry friends. Whether your pooch’s favorite activity is fetch, hiking, or a simple trip to the park, the annoying reality is that they will almost definitely be exposed to ticks, fleas, and other external parasites. However, with a little forethought your pet can be healthy and parasite free all summer long.
Remember – prevention now is much easier than treatment for parasitic diseases later!
The most common external parasites, fleas are opportunistic and willing to feed on any warm-blooded animal. Most commonly, your pet will pick up fleas from a contaminated environment, where flea infested animals have stopped to rest, depositing eggs and adult fleas.
Protected outdoor shady areas such as long grass and under bushes provide sanctuaries for fleas to await their next hosts. Using its extreme athleticism, the flea will then jump 100 times their height to land on an animal passing by.
There are a multitude of flea prevention medications available to keep your dog flea-free. Pet parents should work with their veterinarian to determine the flea prevention method that is most suited for your particular pet’s lifestyle, age, weight, and other risk factors.
Another common parasite, the tick is an arachnid that comprises about 900 different species which can be found in nearly all parts of the world. The species most commonly found on pets in the U.S. are the Brown Dog Tick, Deer Tick, Lone Star Tick, and the American Dog Tick.
The primary concern with tick bites is their capability to transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more.
Most serious tickborne diseases do not have widely available vaccines, which is why it’s very important to prevent ticks from infesting your pet on the front end. There are oral medications, topical treatments, collars, and shampoos, each designed to address specific needs and lifestyle factors for your pet, so it’s best to discuss this with your veterinarian to determine the prevention method that’s best.
Consider booking an appointment with your pet’s vet to discuss parasite prevention and the methods that will work best for your animal. The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Please call 314-951-1534 or visit amcma.org to request an appointment online.