External parasites on our pets
External parasites on our pets are more prevalent during the warmer summer months. Specifically of concern is the outbreak of ticks and fleas. These parasites feasts on your pets’ blood and can cause several health concerns. Fleas can cause:
- Flea allergy dermatitis (skin allergies)
- Hot spots
- Bartonella infection (Cat Scratch Fever)
Ticks can cause:
- Ehrlichia canis: Spread by the Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick). This is a parasite infestation of white blood cells.
- Babesia Canis: Spread by Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick). This is a parasite infestation of red blood cells. Can be fatal.
- Hyalomma tick bite: Hyalomma tick bites cause the death of extensive areas of tissue around the bite.
- The easiest way to identify these pests is when you identify them on your pet with the naked eye. Ticks most often attach near the head, neck, ears, or paws.
- On cats, they’re usually found around the ears and eyes.
Fleas can be visualized with a flea comb or by seeing:
- Flea droppings (dark specks) in the fur
- Flea eggs (white specks) in the fur
- Excessive licking or scratching
- Scabs or hot spots on the skin
Prevention is always better than cure. Check your pet regularly for any signs of ticks and fleas. It usually takes about 24-4 hours for a tick to pass along a disease. If you spot a tick, put on latex gloves and grasp it as close to the skin as possible. Pull firmly, straight out. You can also use tweezers or flea remover devices sold at stores. Try not to leave any pieces behind, because they can cause infections. And you can always just take your pet to the vet’s office to have the pest removed. The best option still is to use adequate prevention. Currently, there are a lot of products on the market that can suit each pets’ individual needs. Discuss with your veterinarian what product will be safest to use.