What’s worse than listening to your pet thumping and scratching all night long? Maybe, finding a tick or fleas in your home, on yourself, or someone you love? The mere thought of disease carrying parasites invading our space is frightening. Incidents of Lyme disease is on the rise and can have disastrous implications for pets and people alike. Fleas can sneak in on our clothing and shoes, and it doesn’t take long for one flea to turn into thousands. In fact, by the time you notice a problem, you are likely way behind in treating an infestation. With this having been said, your pet’s parasite prevention must remain a high priority.
Parasite Borne Illnesses
Fleas and ticks are small but troublesome creatures. Besides being an annoying parasite, they can have some detrimental effects on overall health. An average flea infestation may keep you and your pet up at night, but more serious consequences can occur. These might include:
- Flea Allergic Dermatitis: For some pets allergies to flea saliva lead to serious skin conditions related to flea bites. These typically need a veterinary visit to resolve.
- Flea Anemia: Fleas feed on blood, so it only makes sense that a severe flea infestation could lead to enough blood loss to cause anemia and even death. This is a particular concern in very tiny patients.
- Tapeworms: Certain species of tapeworm larvae can reside inside of the flea. When a pet ingests one of these fleas, usually during self-grooming, the tapeworm makes its home within the digestive tract.
- Heartworms: Spread from host to host through mosquitoes bites. The definitive host is the dog, but it can also infect cats.
- Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever): This bacteria that resides in the bloodstream of infected animals can be transmitted by the flea. It is also contagious to people.
- Mycoplasma Infection: This blood-borne parasite of the red blood cell is the culprit involved in feline infectious anemia.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a potentially fatal disease that’s usually caused by the bite of a tick infected with rickettsia group bacteria.
- Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever): This bacteria resides in the bloodstream of infected animals and can be transmitted by the flea.
- Flea-Borne Typhus (also known as murine typhus): Transmitted by bacteria-infested feces of infected cat fleas when the bacteria enters the body at the time of a flea bite or from scratching the area of the bite.
- Lyme Disease: Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread through the bite of infected ticks. Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs.
Treatment for Your Pets
Treating an animal infected with parasites can be very costly. The key to a happy, healthy life for your dog or cat is to take preventive measures. Dr. Whitworth can guide you through selecting the best product for your pet. Modern topical spot-ons, chewables, and collars make it so that there is likely a great product for keeping fleas and pets apart. Sometimes he may recommend products for premise control if an infestation is already present. Call Whitworth Animal Clinic to get on the right path to end your flea and tick problems. Medicine that works is available. Your pet will thank you!
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