Effective Prevention and Treatment
for Fleas & Ticks on Pets
The most common external parasites to infect our household pets are the flea and tick. During every wellness visit at Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic, we design a parasite prevention plan to address the possibility of infestation. Even with these precautions, some pets do get get fleas or tick bites at some point. The veterinarian will work with you, to develop an effective strategy that is appropriate for your pet.
Where Do Fleas & Ticks Come From?
Fleas are most often transmitted by another infected animal. A stray dog, cat, or other animal that suffers from an infestation can drop flea eggs on your yard or property. The eggs incubate and grow to adulthood, when they can then hitch a ride on your pet.
While ticks live mostly in tall grass and wooded areas, they can live in almost every outdoor environment. They climb grasses and shrubs to the height of 18 to 24 inches. The slightest action—walking or brushing against the vegetation—causes them to fall off onto pets or people, where they bite down and feed. Ticks can live a long time outside without feeding, more than a year in some cases.
Dangers of Fleas & Ticks
Fleas and ticks are a concern because they carry diseases that make pets and people sick. Fleas suck blood and can therefore cause anemia. Some animals, such as old or sick pets, can die from a heavy infestation. Puppies are certainly vulnerable to illnesses carried by these parasites.
A common issue we see is flea allergy dermatitis in dogs and cats. Only a few fleas need be present to cause a reaction. Infected pets tend to exhibit behavior such as excessive scratching or biting at themselves.
Tick bites can infect the host with more than a dozen different diseases, many of which can kill pets. These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and more.
Cat scratch fever, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are all examples of zoonotic diseases that originate with fleas and ticks. Cat scratch fever is a bacterial disease spread to cats by fleas, then transmitted to humans through a cat scratch or bite. Both Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease are spread to people indirectly, through a bite from a tick that was carried by their dog or cat.
The CDC provides information about diseases your pet can transmit to you with tips on how to keep yourself, your family, and your pets healthy. Find additional information about zoonotic diseases in Diseases from Animals: A Primer.
We Offer Products to Protect Pets
While a variety of over-the-counter flea and tick products claim to prevent or treat infestations, many are ineffective and even toxic to pets. We do not recommend using these products without a veterinary consultation.
Our veterinarians advise you about parasite prevention and treatment at every wellness visit and can recommend safe and effective products for your pet. If you suspect an infestation, contact the clinic for immediate guidance.