Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos can cause your pet discomfort and itchiness as well as allergic reactions and disease. Orange County is a major location for both fleas and ticks, so this is something to be especially watchful about for the safety or your pet. Not only can these parasites and bacteria cause harm to your pet, but they can also cause harm to you and your family.
Parasites are organisms that need a host to survive. They can cause serious damage if they reproduce and invade their hosts’ bodies. Many are also known to carry deadly diseases, such as Typus and Lyme, that can infect humans as well.
These external parasites are the most common amongst household pets, like cats and dogs. Ticks and fleas can be transmitted from other animals and even humans. While they won’t cause damage to vital inner organs, they can have a devastating effect on your pets if they are left untreated. Ticks, in particular, are notorious for carrying serious illnesses, like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Ticks and fleas live on the skin of their host, biting them for blood. This can be extremely irritating, causing the flea or tick-infested pet to scratch and bite at its own skin. You can check for these parasites by checking your pet’s skin for small, red bumps where they may have been bitten.
Tick & Flea Treatment
If you suspect your pet has any external parasites, take them to the vet for a checkup. Pets can be treated for fleas, ticks, lice, and mites in a variety of ways. There are collars, sprays, ointments, shampoos, oral medications, and spot treatments available to get rid of the parasites, but only your veterinarian will be able to determine which method is best.
Tick & Flea Prevention
As with all parasites, prevention is the best way to avoid any health complications for your pet. Keep an eye on your pet whenever you take them outside, especially if there are other animals present. It’s also important to maintain a clean environment for your pet to live in. Taking your pet to the vet regularly will also help prevent ticks and fleas because the vet will be able to administer preventative medicine.
Heartworm is also a serious, common, and potentially fatal parasite transmitted through mosquitoes, but it is preventable with regular lab testing.
Symptoms of Heartworm
This deadly disease can cause long-lasting damage to an animal’s internal organs. Once the worms have matured, usually within 3-4 months, they can grow up to 12 inches long and survive for many years. Heartworms can infect vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidney, causing them to fail. While heartworm is more prevalent among dogs than cats, it’s still possible for cats to become infected, too. If you notice any of the following changes in your pet, notify your vet immediately.
These are common signs of heartworm, but for some animals, there may be no symptoms at all, which is why it’s important to have your pet tested regularly.
Talk to your vet about annual parasite lab tests in order to prevent parasite and tick borne diseases in your pet or catch them before they cause harm. If heartworm larvae is detected early, it can be destroyed to prevent heartworm disease. Since heartworm is transmitted through mosquitoes, is it especially a risk in warmer climates and during warmer seasons. You can help reduce the risk of heartworm disease in your pet by limiting it’s exposure to mosquitos. Once heartworm larvae hatch and infect the organs, it is treatable but dangerous and expensive, so prevention is a priority.
If parasites are found, your pet can be dewormed with the appropriate medication before any damage is done. Talk to your vet if you have any concerns or questions about parasites or ticks or are interested in preventative products specific to your pet’s needs.
A regular wellness exam, getting required vaccines, and being mindful of when and where your pet goes outdoors can also reduce parasite exposure. Especially in warmer weather, a quick check for ticks and fleas before you bring your pet inside can help protect your pet and your family. Additionally, products can be used to deter fleas and ticks, but make sure that you discuss any products with your vet before using them on your pet.