Preventing Heartworms, Fleas, and Ticks on Dogs and Cats
in Monroeville, PA
Our team recommends year-round parasite prevention to combat heartworms, fleas, and ticks on dogs and cats. Whether your pet regularly spends time in the great outdoors or prefers the security of staying inside, they can still be at risk of becoming infected with parasites and infected by parasite-transmitted diseases. And while it may seem that all of these pests disappear when winter sets in, fleas and ticks can actually go dormant during the cold and awaken when the temperature rises.
Diseases Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes Can Spread
There are a variety of parasite-transmitted illnesses, some of which can affect both pets and their humans. Some of these include:
- Heartworm disease: Heartworms are roundworms that live in the arteries of the heart and lungs. Mosquitoes carry this disease, taking in heartworm larvae when they take a meal from an infected host and passing those larvae on to the next host. Heartworm disease takes time to advance, making it tricky to detect early on. To prevent this disease from progressing, we highly recommend year-round heartworm testing in order to detect the presence of heartworms before they have done significant damage.
- Lyme disease: Black-legged ticks are the primary carriers for bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks carrying this bacteria pass it on to their host while feeding. Clinical signs are usually delayed and do not manifest for several months. These signs include fever, swollen joints, lameness, and lethargy. Lyme disease testing is also important and if possible, your pet should be tested year-round to make sure they’re healthy. Also be aware that Lyme disease is zoonotic, which means that if an infected tick bites you, you can also become infected.
- Flea allergy dermatitis: If fleas were not annoying enough, they can also cause allergies in your pet. Flea bites generally cause itchiness in pets, but in some cases, this itching can become more severe and lead to many other issues, like rashes, hair loss, and skin infections.
How to Keep Your Pet Parasite- and Disease-Free
It’s important to keep your home tidy and to clear away any brush, woodpiles, and tall grasses around your property. In spring and summer, try to minimize the presence of standing water, which is prime hatching ground for mosquito larvae. However, the most important way to keep parasites away from your pet is to invest in year-round protection with medication. Our animal hospital offers various flea, tick, and heartworm prevention for dogs and cats.