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Vet Talks: How To Protect Your Cats and Dogs from Ticks and Fleas

Posted 2020-11-12

Summer has arrived and the proliferation of fleas and ticks has as well. Ticks and fleas may be small, but they can bring a lot of discomfort and health problems for our pets. It’s important to know how to protect your cats and dogs from ticks and fleas. See below for a step-by-step guide to safely removing ticks from your dog or cat.

Ticks and fleas feed on blood from their hosts, causing itching and even allergic dermatitis because of the reaction to the flea or tick’s saliva. They can also transmit many other diseases such as internal parasites like Dipylidium, and blood diseases such as Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. Some of these diseases may lead to death and can be also transmitted to us humans. Therefore, attention to protecting our little ones must be reinforced during the summer.

flea-transmition-to-dogs-and-humans.jpeg

How Flea and Tick Infestations Begin

Infestation occurs more frequently through contact with your cat and dog. For example, during a walk in the park where the dog has been in contact with another animal, or in an environment that is infested with these ectoparasites. But it can also happen if the pet owner brings the ticks and fleas home carried by his/her shoes, or after having contact with an infected animal. Therefore, even if you are not taking your dog for a walk, you should still take precautions to decrease the chances of infestation.

How To Keep Your Cat and Dog Safe and Your Home Free From Fleas and Tick Infestations

 

It is important to always keep the environment clean. Pay attention to the most common places where ticks and fleas can be hidden. For example, grouting floors, carpets, and sofas. Ticks prefer places far from the ground, crevices, and stay under tiles and dry leaves. Use the vacuum cleaner and do not accumulate waste.  An efficient way to control proliferation is the use of aerosols that eliminate eggs, larvae, and adults in the environment.

In the case of fleas, only 5% is on the animal, while 95% are in the environment in the form of eggs, larvae, and pupae. In other words, as soon as the contamination of the animal is detected, it is essential that the environment undergoes pest control.

Taking care of the house is important, but your cat and dog must also be protected. The most effective way to prevent the bite and infestation of fleas and ticks in dogs and cats is the use of flea repellents.

If you go for a walk with your dog and notice that your dog is constantly itchy, look for parasites under the ear, neck, belly, snout, between the toes, and close to the tail. These are the favorite places of these parasites. If you believe it is a tick, I suggest safely removing it immediately, as most diseases transmitted by ticks need hours for transmission to happen.

flea on dog

A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Removing Ticks

Material: gloves, alcohol absolute, forceps, and treats to distract your pet.

After making sure about the location of the tick, use one metallic forceps (or tweezers), and remove the parasite by the head. I suggest leaving the forceps in the fridge for a few minutes so it will be cold so that when you touch the cold metallic forceps on the tick the difference in temperature will automatically disconnect its mouth from your pet.  This will ensure that there is no risk of breaking the tick and having parts remain in the skin, causing inflammation.

Never do the procedure without gloves. Ticks also transmit diseases to humans.

After removing the tick completely, place it in a glass of alcohol absolute. Only that will kill the parasite. After they are dead, you can dispense them in the toilet.

how to remove a tick from your skin with tweezers

Flea control on the pet and any housemates must be aggressively pursued and can involve the following:

  • Topical agents including bath and spray such as NHV Target Spray.
  • Oral agents that kill fleas immediately or help to reduce their reproduction. Some oral agents such as NHV Pet-Omega 3 and Stimmune may help to reduce dermatitis caused by fleas, and Inulin PK may help to eliminate the internal worms such as Dipylidium. Also, many studies have shown that Yucca has strong antiparasitic properties, being beneficial to supporting the treatment for pets with ehrlichiosis, babesia, and Lyme disease.
  • Many of these agents can be used together. Your veterinarian will help you pick the best regimen for your pet or pets

With some care and guidance, your fur friend will be protected and will be able to enjoy the summer with a lot of purrs of joy.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to protect you and your pets from ticks and fleas we are only a message away!

 


Dr. Amanda Nascimento, DVM, MVSc., PhD completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Follow Dr. Amanda’s vet talks blog series

 

 

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