Fall Flea and Tick Prevention
Although the temperatures are beginning to fall, do not be fooled that flea and tick season is behind us. Fall flea and tick prevention is more important than any other season. The number of fleas on animals in the fall has a tendency to double when compared to the spring. The theory behind this “flea surge” occurring in the autumn is because there is generally an increase in precipitation and the temperatures stay around 70 degrees. Fleas thrive in these conditions.
Fleas can transmit parasites, tapeworms, and bacterial diseases. Your pet may unknowingly be extremely allergic to bites, and will experience extreme inflammation and itching, and excessive scratching. If left untreated, this can lead to secondary infections.
Ticks, unfortunately, will live all year long and can survive in even the worst conditions. For example, ticks can live for an entire year without feeding. Both fleas and ticks are ubiquitous in the environment, being that they are found in almost every climate and territory.
How pets get fleas and ticks
You may be wondering how your pet gets fleas, especially if it is an “indoor” pet. Quite simply, all it takes is for your pet to walk through the grass or brush up against a shrub or bush. It is difficult to control fleas outside due to the unpredictability of wild animals visiting your property.
Reasons to prevent fleas and ticks
Preventative flea medicine is a must for your pets not only due to the various illness and diseases but because of allergies. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fleas can transmit parasites, tapeworms, and bacterial diseases. Your pet may unknowingly be extremely allergic to bites, and will experience extreme inflammation and itching, and excessive scratching. If left untreated, this can lead to secondary infections.
Symptoms and signs of fleas and ticks
Skin allergies and flea/tick infestations may exhibit many of the same symptoms on your pet:
- Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
- Increased scratching
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
- Itchy ears and ear infections
- Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
- Paw chewing/swollen paws
- Constant licking
Be sure to look for specific signs of fleas including seeing actual fleas or flea “dirt.” Larger ticks can typically be seen on your pet, especially if engorged after a feeding. Other ticks are miniscule, about the size of a pinhead. You may be able to remove fleas through bathing and using a special comb, but use caution when removing a tick so that there are no pieces left behind. Ask your vet about a special tick removal device.
Prevention beyond your pet
Preventing fleas and ticks goes beyond applying your pet’s topical medicine. Within your house, try frequent vacuuming and laundering of pet bedding. Outside, keep your grass mowed short and shrubs trimmed back. These critters love moisture, so also be sure to keep leaves raked and cleaned up. If necessary, you may need to treat your yard with pesticide. Also, make it a habit of performing a regular, daily flea and tick check on your pet.
Before treating your pet for flea/ticks, make sure it is an infestation, not just a skin allergy. When applying a flea and tick preventative product, make sure to only use products for the species they are intended. Some medications are highly toxic to cats. If you have any questions about infestations/allergies or what types of products are best for treating your pet, contact Family Veterinary Clinic.
The staff at Family Veterinary Clinic is as much about our furry friends as we are about our people. We think having a great staff is crucial to making you, and your pets feel right at home. We are a great resource and are here to answer your questions. Throughout the Crofton and Gambrills areas of Maryland we treat your pets like our own. We believe in using extreme care and the very best in medicines and practices.