Parasitic infections affect the skin and coat and can adversely (sometimes seriously) affect your pet's health. Among other problems, they can cause eczema, pruritis, or significant hair loss.
Ticks attach to a dog's or cat's skin, preferring the most delicate areas. They use their mouth parts to pierce the skin and inject a special saliva which solidifies into a very strong attachment point. The tick then consumes its meal of blood. Once the tick has finished its meal, another type of saliva is used to dissolve the attachment point so that the tick can drop off.
The best way to remove a tick from your pet is to first wet a cotton ball with alcohol and rub on the tick and the surrounding skin of the dog or cat. Grasp the tick carefully with a pair of tweezers and gently work the tick off your pet, making sure you have removed the head of the tick to prevent abscess formation at the point of attachment. After the tick has been removed,
use a new cotton ball to disinfect the bite area.
Be sure to check for ticks after outdoor activities, particularly if your pet has been in the woods, tall grasses, or areas known to have ticks.
For more information, visit our Flea and Tick Control page.
This is not a replacement for a veterinary consultation.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your pet's health and care, please contact us to schedule an appointment.
To effectively combat fleas, it is important to understand how you can intervene in the various stages of the parasite's life cycle. Flea larvae hide from the light: in nooks and crannies, under rugs, in cushions, and between floorboards. After one or two weeks of life, the larva forms a cocoon which is resistant to flea treatments and can lie dormant for up to five months. The presence of animals or humans triggers the hatching of an adult flea from a cocoon. A large number of cocoons can hatch all at once, leading to an infestation of fleas within a matter of hours.
The adult flea jumps onto the dog or cat and bites him or her to consume the blood. The female fleas are the most ravenous, eating up to fifteen times their own weight in blood (70 female fleas can eat a milliliter of blood per day!).
Treatments usually take one of three forms: preventing reproduction, halting the development of larvae, and killing adult fleas. The purpose of insecticides is to kill all the adult fleas on the dogs and cats living in the area. Anti-parasitic sprays or "spot on" treatments (direct application of a very concentrated spray solution that then diffuses throughout the dog's or cat's body) kill fleas as they feed. Spot on treatments must be repeated every month. Another form of treatment which must be repeated monthly is a pill that sterilizes the fleas as they infest.
Insect growth regulators (or IGRs) prevent fleas from developing in the environment as well as killing adult fleas. Insect growth regulators have the advantage of being completely harmless to domestic animals and humans. Before applying this treatment, the entire area must be dusted and thoroughly cleaned. The vacuum cleaner as well ad the closet where it is kept can become a haven for fleas and should also be treated. In good weather, it may be necessary to treat the yard, too.
For more information, please visit our Flea and Tick Control page.
Puppies and kittens can be wormed after they are two weeks old as a preventive measure. Worm medicine can be administered as pills, paste, or liquid. A multipurpose vermifuge is typically used on the young puppies and kittens. It usually consists of a mixture of several anthelmintics providing a broad spectrum of protection. The dose should be adjusted for the puppy's or kitten's weight. The kitten or puppy is then treated once a month until he or she is six months old, and from then on, two to four times per year, depending on how much time he or she spends outside.
Stool analysis can also reveal worm eggs, and the worms can then be more specifically targeted by choosing the best anthelmintic for the type of worm observed. The puppy's or kitten's characteristics should be taken into account when deciding how to administer the vermifuge, whether as pills, paste, or liquid. Some can be given in one dose, but others require several doses, which may also influence your choice.
Please visit this link to our Parasite Control page for more information.
To learn more about heartworms specifically, please visit our Pet Library.
Contact us to schedule your pet's parasite screening and parasite prevention.