A Bit About Bugs!

Test Tube with BugsI have a confession. I hate parasites, especially the ones that can affect my pets or have the potential to make me sick.

These parasites can be on the outside of your pet (fleas, or ticks) or on the inside (roundworm, giardiasis, tapeworm, etc). We do know some parasites are species-specific and cause no harm but I am speaking of the ones that are not good for your pet or you.The bad news is we cannot eliminate them, scorch them from the earth, but the good news is that there are things that can be done to minimize a pet’s exposure, reduce the number in the environment, and, best of all, prevent ourselves from becoming infected.

Here is how:
Regularly deworm your pet. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle an ideal deworming protocol can be designed by your vet. Please don’t hesitate to call us and we will be happy to review all your options that best suit your pet.

Have you ever heard the old saying “wash your hands after handling”? Well, let me tell you, folks, basic hygiene can reduce your risk of infection from many of the internal parasites your pet may be able to transmit to you. Children, the elderly, and immunocompromised are the people who are most at risk.

For the bugs on the outside:
Flea prevention is imperative if you want to have success. If you only start treatments when you have a problem it makes getting control very difficult. There are a number of safe, new generation meds both topical and oral to minimize your pet’s exposure. We can help you select a method that works for you and your pet. Preventive care is critical in reducing common secondary skin infections that can result from flea bites. This is especially true in animals that have any allergies. Treating all pets in a home is also vital in the battle against fleas. Even the “indoor pets” need to be treated. Additional information on flea control will follow in an upcoming blog from my good technician friend, Amanda.

Ticks and the potential for tick-borne diseases. Well, I need not say too much as it scares the heck out of most people! I have a few friends who have contracted Lyme disease and it is no laughing matter. Tick-borne diseases are potentially llife-altering

There are some things you can do outdoors to help ward off the ticks. For example, keeping grass short, creating barriers around property, and new generation tick medications are often combined with flea prevention. Monitor outdoor temperatures rather than using dates, to decide to stop tick prevention.

Did you know anytime the temp is at or above 4 degrees Celsius in a given month there is a possibility for ticks (fleas too)?

There are 2 peak times for ticks; the spring and fall. But year-round prevention, Lyme vaccine, vigilant monitoring, and removal of ticks when found are all important tools to employ.
Please contact your vet or myself for any additional information. We can design a program of prevention that will suit you and your pet.
Until we chat again, stay bug free!

Written by: Dr. Josephine Grant, DVM