Fleas and Ticks: Hidden Dangers for Your Pet

Fleas and ticks may seem gross and like an annoyance, but they also can create large health risks to your pet and your family.  Knowing these risks and how to prevent them is key for a long and happy life for your pet.

Fleas can transmit diseases to your cat or dog that are also infectious to humans.  These diseases include typhus, plague, and Bartonella (usually manifesting as “Cat Scratch Disease”) and can be lethal.  Fleas are also capable of transmitting tapeworms.  Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that can infect humans as well as cats and dogs.

Ticks are typically known to spread Lyme disease, which cats, dogs, and humans can contract.  Since there are over 850 known species of ticks, it is easy to understand that they are capable of transmitting more than just Lyme diseases.  In North America, ticks are also capable of transmitting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and Ehrlichiosis.  Ticks can also cause something commonly known as “Tick Paralysis.”  Tick paralysis is caused by certain species of tick whose saliva contains neurotoxins.  When these ticks take a blood meal, their saliva enters the blood stream of the host (so your cat, your dog, or yourself) and causes paralysis.  Dogs are typically more affected by the neurotoxin than cats in the U.S.

The easiest way to prevent these diseases is by keeping your pet on a monthly flea and tick prevention product.  While many pet owners think that pets are safe during the winter, fleas and ticks are capable of surviving colder temperatures and can thrive in your home.

Even if you have an strictly indoor cat, other pets or humans can track fleas and ticks into your home on shoes or socks.  Since these parasites are capable of rapidly producing eggs, just one or two of them may be enough to start an infestation in our home.

While several pet-store products are available for flea and tick prevention, many of them have become ineffective against the pest populations.  Choosing an over the counter or prescription option through your veterinarian is the best option for you and your pet.  In order to support flea and tick prevention, especially in the summer months, Emerald Animal Hospital is offering $6 off 6 doses of Vectra (for cats) or Vectra 3D (for dogs) or $12 off 12 doses of Vectra and Vectra 3D.  As over the counter products, Vectra (flea prevention for cats) and Vectra 3D (flea and tick prevention for dogs) are available for purchase without a prescription or an appointment.  We will need your pet’s weight in order to get you the appropriate dosage.  Stop in today to save your pet the pains of fleas and ticks or give us a call at 216-749-7161 with any further questions!