Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Summer Pet Tips: Fleas and Ticks

With the warmer weather, these parasites are particularly prevalent. Discuss the various methods of flea and tick prevention with your veterinarian (once-a-month topical products, powders, sprays, collars, etc). Watch for signs that your cat or dog may have fleas (or ticks) – which may include excessive grooming, constant scratching and biting, hair loss and skin irritation. Another sign your cat or dog may have fleas is a sudden change in behavior, including agitation, edginess, and restlessness. Look through your pet’s fur (and sleeping spots) for fleas, flea dirt and/or ticks.

If your pet becomes infested with fleas, you must treat your pet AND the pet’s environment. Speak to your vet about flea treatments for your home (flea bombs) and treating feral cat colonies (oral treatments can be crushed into food and powders/sprays used to treat bedding).

If you find a tick on your pet, it should be removed right away and disposed of. Use tweezers to gently pull the tick from your pet’s skin, making sure to remove the head and mouth parts. Some ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In heavily wooded areas or areas where ticks are prevalent, discuss the Lyme vaccine with your vet.

ALWAYS discuss flea and tick prevention methods with your vet PRIOR to using a particular product. In some cases, pets have had adverse reactions to some flea and tick treatments. Just because a product is over-the-counter does not make it any safer than those prescribed by a veterinarian. For your pet’s sake, and your sake, please do you research.

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