Fleas & Ticks
My dog always seems to have fleas. What can I do?
Successful flea control involves:
  1. Eliminating fleas from your dog
  2. Controlling fleas in the environment
Dogs and cats share the same fleas. It is important that all pets in your home are on a flea preventive. Treating your pet for fleas has never been easier. With the many choices we have today, we can provide you with the safest and most effective flea preventive for your pet’s needs.

Apart from irritation, are fleas particularly harmful?
Fleas can cause anemia in heavy infestations, especially in young or debilitated dogs. A single female flea can take up to 15 times her body weight in blood over the several weeks of her adult life. In addition, fleas can carry several diseases, including plague, and also act as vectors to spread one of the most common tapeworms of the dog and cat, Diplylidium caninum.

How do I prevent fleas on my dog?
Successful flea control includes treating both the environment as well as your pet.

What shall I put on my dog?
Shampoos, sprays, powders and topical preparations are all available. Be sure to consult your veterinarian to choose the most effective and safe flea products for your home and pet.

What about the environment?
Environmental preparations are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Remember that most products are only effective against the adult flea. Your veterinarian can provide you with flea products that contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) that will help destroy the flea eggs and larvae. Before applying any environmental product, we recommend vacuuming your carpet to stimulate the pre-adult fleas to emerge from their protective cocoons. Be sure to discard the vacuum cleaner bag after its use.

My dog lives most of his life outside. What should I do?
Concentrate on dark, shaded areas. Spray a product containing an IGR and repeat every 14-21 days for three to five applications. The newer topical and oral flea preventives will greatly assist you in solving your flea problem. With persistence and patience, you and your pet will be flea-free in no time!

Ticks

What are ticks?
Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they are actually arachnids similar to scorpions, spiders and mites. All ticks have four pairs of legs as adults and have no antennae. Adult insects by comparison have three pairs of legs and one pair of antennae. Ticks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. Ticks take several days to complete feeding

How can my dog pick up ticks?
Ticks wait for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks are not commonly found in trees. When brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Ticks can only crawl; they cannot fly or jump. Some species of ticks will crawl several feet toward a host. Ticks can be active on winter days if the ground temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees Celsius).

What are the different types of ticks?
There are two groups of ticks, sometimes called the “hard” ticks (Ixodidae) and “soft” ticks (Argasidae). Hard ticks, like the common dog tick, have a hard shield just behind the mouthparts (sometimes incorrectly called the “head”); unfed hard ticks are shaped like a flat seed. Soft ticks do not have the hard shield and they are shaped like a large raisin. Soft ticks prefer to feed on birds or bats and are seldom encountered by dogs or cats.

Although there are at least 15 species of ticks in North America, only a few of these species are likely to be encountered. They include the:
  • American dog tick
  • Lone star tick
  • Deer or Blacklegged tick
  • Brown dog tick
Other tick species may be encountered in various regions.

How can ticks be prevented?
There are many different types of tick preventatives available in the marketplace. Some require less effort on the part of the owner than others. Some products are available over the counter, while others are only available through your veterinarian. There are effective monthly preventatives that are applied to the skin at the back of the neck and represent a convenient method of control for these ectoparasites. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations to keep your pet parasite free.

What should I do if I find a tick on me or my dog?
Use blunt tweezers or disposable gloves to handle the tick. If your fingers must be used, shield them with a tissue or paper towel. Infectious agents may be contracted through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin simply by handling infected ticks.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. This reduces the possibility of the head detaching from the body upon removal.
Pull the tick out straight out with a steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin, increasing the chances of infection.
Continue applying steady pressure even if the tick does not release immediately. It may take a minute or two of constant, slow pulling to cause the tick to release.
After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water.
After removing the tick, you may wish to preserve it in rubbing alcohol.
Be sure to label the container with information about the time and place where the tick bite occurred. This activity will help you to remember details of the incident if the rash or other symptoms associated with Lyme disease appear later.
This information will also be of help to a veterinarian or physician diagnosing an illness.
Rosswell Animal Hospital, Ontario, Courtice

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Rosswell Animal Hospital, Ontario, Courtice

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