Fleas & Ticks

Almost everyone knows that fleas and ticks are a potential problem with dogs and cats. However, we still see many patients that have severe flea and tick infestations. Not everyone knows how to tell if your pet is infested or how easy it is to prevent infestations. To detect fleas, part the hair and look in various areas on the body. The abdomen, which has less hair, is a good place to look. Sometimes fleas themselves cannot be seen. However, if fleas are present, you can often find “flea dirt” (digested blood). Flea dirt looks similar to ground pepper and when wiped with a moist napkin, appears red in color. Ticks are generally easier to find as they are larger and do not move around on the skin. They attach to the skin all over the body, but especially around the ears and face. Of course, if you are not sure if your pet is having a problem, bring them to the clinic and we will examine your pet.

Not only are fleas and ticks a nuisance, but they can cause serious health problems for your pets. Both fleas and ticks, especially on smaller animals, can cause severe anemia (blood loss). Many dogs are allergic to fleas and are highly irritated by even one flea. Fleas are also the most common source of tapeworms in dogs and cats. Ticks are potential sources of serious diseases, such as Lyme’s disease and Ehrlichiosis.

Flea and tick protection is much easier now than ever before. There are effective monthly preventatives available that can be used to safely rid your pets from these pests. Puppies and kittens cannot always use these products, so we will help you decide which preventative is appropriate.