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Fleas and Tick and Heartworms...Oh My!

Fleas:

  •  Every pet in the household should be treated with a prescription flea product year long.  Many OTC flea products are ineffective and there are sometimes toxic reactions related to these products. 
  • If your pet has fleas, your entire household needs to be treated.  Flea larvae can live in a cocoon in the environment anywhere from 1 week to 1 year.
  • Fleas and mosquitoes can survive indoors.  Flea larvae can last 1 year in a cocoon and the hatch into a flea.  This is why it is important to threat your pet with a prescription flea and heartworm preventative every month throughout the entire year.
  • Even if your cat does not go outside, parasitic invaders let themselves in through a window/door, or hitchhike on our shoes or on other pets.  Your cat will be exposed to fleas and heartworm if not protected with a monthly preventative.

 Ticks:

  •  If your pet has a tick, it is fairly easy to remove.  Do grasp the tick firmly with tweezers, as close to the head as possible.  Do pull the tick straight out with a steady, even pressure.  Do disinfect the site of the bite and wash your hands.  Do not twist or jerk the tick.  Do not use petroleum jelly, grease, hot match or other methods to remove the tick.  If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, always feel free to call us to set a time for us to remove the tick.
  • The ticks’ life cycle begins with the female engorging on blood and falling off.  Eggs are laid on the ground then hatch into larvae.  Larvae climb up vegetation or bedding waiting for a host (your pet!) to attach to, engorge on blood, fall off and molt into nymphs.  Nymphs wait for a host, attach, engorge on blood and mole into adults.  Adults wait for host, attach and copulate on host and start the cycle all over again. 

Heartworms:

  •  There are 22 different mosquito species in the U.S. that carry heartworm and they are active at different times of the day and year.
  • There is no such thing as an outside mosquito.
  • Your dog should be given his first heartworm test at 1 year of age and then once annually.
  • Even if you give a heartworm preventative, you should still have your dog tested for heartworm annually.  We are all human, and even one missed dose throughout the year can cause a problem.
  • We also recommend heartworm preventative year round for cats.  There is no safe treatment of heartworm disease for cats.