Protecting your pets against flea and tick bites is essential to their long-term health. Fleas are the most common external parasite that affects dogs and cats. Ticks are arachnids that, depending on the species, can cause life-threatening illnesses. These blood-sucking parasites live outdoors, waiting for a four-legged host to come along. At Hamilton Hills Animal Hospital in Noblesville, IN, our veterinarians want pet owners to understand how these parasites threaten your pet's well-being.
Fleas are persistent. They can survive from two weeks to a year. During that time, the adults are laying eggs that increase the number of fleas on an animal and its surroundings. The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common North American flea and it loves warm, humid climates.
Your pet's fur should be checked regularly for fleas that tend to cluster on a dog's abdomen or at the base of the tail and the head for both cats and dogs. Fleas appear as small dark grains of sand on an animal's fur. Their eggs appear as tiny white grains. For cats and some dogs, comb their fur with a fine-toothed comb to help expose any fleas.
If your pet shows any of these symptoms, your pet may have fleas:
- Excessive scratching, licking or biting at the skin
- Irritated skin
- Hair loss
- Scabs and hot spots
- Pale gums
If left untreated, fleas can cause anemia because they consume up to 15 times their weight in blood. They can also cause an allergic reaction as some pets are sensitive to flea saliva.
Prevention is preferable to treatment. If your animal has fleas, one of our in-home veterinarians may suggest a flea treatment plan that includes:
- Flea prevention medications for your pet
- Thorough cleaning of your home, including rugs, furniture, and bedding
- Possible lawn treatments to reduce re-infection
Talk to one of our veterinarians about the best flea prevention products for your pet.
Ticks are blood-drinking parasites that feed on host animals. They, like mites and spiders, are arachnids that love warm climates and wooded areas. Different ticks transmit different diseases so check with a veterinarian for which ticks are the most common in your area.
Many ticks are visible on your pet with the naked eye, especially as they fill with blood. Make sure you do a visual check of your pet. Check inside the ears, head, and feet. Dogs and cats may not show symptoms for some time but tick bites can have nasty consequences:
- Tick paralysis
- Skin irritation or infection
- Lyme Disease
Some tick-transmitted diseases can be fatal such as Cytauxzoonosis in cats.
Ticks should be removed immediately and the bites need to be monitored for possible infections. Preventing tick-transmitted diseases is better than treating an illness. As with fleas, tick prevention products are available and our concierge service can provide them during your appointment. Speak with our veterinarian about the best prevention control for your pet.
Are Pests Bugging Your Pet? We're Here to Help!
Our veterinary care staff will answer any questions you may have about pest prevention and parasite treatment. Our veterinarians make house calls and can provide the quality veterinary care that your pet deserves in the comfort of your own home. If you live near Noblesville, IN, call Hamilton Hills Animal Hospital today to schedule your appointment.