Hope you’re having a great winter! Well, Punxsutawney Phil says that we will be having an early Spring (thank you, Mr. Groundhog), and with the warm weather comes all the fleas and ticks that have been inactive during the cold months. Ideally, your pet should always be on some sort of flea and tick preventative year round. Be sure to double check the medicines you are using. Some meds only control fleas, but ticks can be a dangerous threat if not taken into consideration.
Fleas can carry a variety of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and even tapeworms. Ticks can also carry a variety of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, as well, and can cause a number of diseases including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Fleas should not be a problem if your pet stays on the proper treatment. If you do have fleas show up on a pet that has not been medicated, use a flea shampoo to first remove the adult fleas, then medicate your animal to protect them in the future. If fleas are appearing on an animal that has already been treated with a flea medicine, you may want to consider switching the treatment to something else. Last year, I heard from numerous folks that their flea/tick medicine wasn’t working as well as it had in the past. Seems that the warmer and shorter the winter, the more creepy-crawlies there are the following year. That being said, having your pet on medication is not always enough. Be vigilant in watching for signs of an infestation and check your pets’ coat often. Pull back their hair and look at their skin. Run your fingers all over them feeling for ticks. If you happen to find any, tick removal is a pretty straight forward process, but you must be careful to remove the entire tick. Using tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Apply steady pressure, slowly pulling the tick off without twisting. Once the tick has been removed, disinfect the wound. If any portion of the tick’s head is left inside the skin, it may be necessary to have a punch biopsy to remove any additional parts of the tick.
While pests can be a nuisance, they can also be a health threat. Always take flea and tick control seriously. Doing so will bring your pet comfort and a healthier life. After all, they deserve it!