As the springtime turns slowly to summer these very serious parasites are once again returning in record numbers. They are a formidable enemy, and although we are killing them off by the millions, they respond by adapting.
So skilled are these parasites, they catch a ride on the neck of your pet, populating, colonizing and learning to survive. For hours they suck the blood of the host, passing along terribly deadly diseases such as Lyme, Heartworm, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the Plague and others. Most importantly, they are the vectors for the transmission of disease to humans.
Using your pet to catch a ride, they gain entrance to our cars, carpets, homes and even our beds. They are so small, most evade the casual glance and reveal themselves long after it’s too late, when engorged and too lazy or slow to crawl away and escape – or, as in the case of fleas, when the host pet has been driven into a raving “mad-itch.”
Some flee facts: Untreated animals can carry 60-100 fleas per week yielding as many as 18,000 eggs per month. There are pockets of resistance in any environment, and many insecticides are inactivated at temperatures 80 degrees and above, just the times we need them! Natural products, Pennyroyal, eucolyptes, citronella, garlic, walnut oil, and cedar bedding are momentary deterrents but cannot stop a hungry flea. Ultrasonic devices, Vitamin B and brewers yeast do not work.
The good news is flea, tick and heartworm control can be accomplished by selecting the correct products and using them regularly. The responsibility lies with you to speak with your veterinarian to be aware of the most current and safest products. Frontline, Sentinel, Advantage, and Advantix (dogs only) are all excellent products. They are administered once monthly, are safe, simple to use and provide amazing fast relief – some can stop fleas from biting in as little as 5 minutes after application!
Your veterinarian is the best source of information for the perfect products for your pet and lifestyle. There are numerous questions concerning the quality control of their products and several companies have been sued by state governments and been found guilty. You have no way to guarantee your pet’s safety or that these products from the Internet were not previously damaged goods, repackaged and relabeled. Until effective controls are in place, purchase your flea, tick and heartworm products locally.
Dr. Kim Hammond is CEO of Falls Road Animal Hospital, and provides veterinary services to groups including the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry, Fashion Industry, and the Peace Corp. He owns two German Shephards and a miniature poodle.
To remove ticks, try Tweezerman Tick Tweezer Removal Kit – The most trusted brand in Tweezers is now catering to your pooch! $8 www.tweezerman.com.
Other summer tips!
Beware of heat. Each summer, intense heat is a leading cause of death in animals. Make sure that your dog and cat avoid heavy exercise and hot pavement (which can burn their paws). Also provide constant access to cold water and shade.
Watch out for signs of heatstroke, which include extreme panting, salivation, expressions of anxiety, and muscle weakness. If the above symptoms are present, contact a vet immediately and drip cold water over your pet’s head and backside.
Watch out for pesticides, insecticides and other toxic substances that are commonly found in gardens or backyards. They can be very harmful when consumed and are often found near edible plants and vegetables.
Be careful of any stings that your pet might have gotten. Although in most cases they are harmless, in large number they often cause considerable irritation and scratching. You can get bug repellant through a local vet as well as most pet shops, and should be applied 2-3 times each day depending on its brand.
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