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Summer Flea & Tick TIPS!!
Widespread panic is more or less what the sellers of chemical pest preventives would like to see as a result of an early and heavy flea and tick season this year.
But before you start having nightmares about massive flea infestations or blood-bloated ticks all over your dog — which could easily prompt you to run out and buy every chemical pest agent you can find – take a deep breath.
Everything you need to do to control pests on your pet this year falls into these three easy-to-remember categories:
- Keep your pet pest-free
- Keep your home pest-free
- Keep your yard pest-free
If you live where fleas and ticks are prevalent during the warmer months, vigilance in keeping your pet, your home and your yard pest-free should allow your four-legged companion to enjoy his summer right along with the rest of the family.
f fleas are a problem, comb your pet with a flea comb at least once a day, every day during pest season. Do the combing on a white towel or other light colored cloth so you can see what’s coming off your pet’s coat and skin as you comb.
Flea ‘dirt’ (actually flea feces) looks like real dirt, but when suspended in a little rubbing alcohol or water will dissolve and release a red color (blood) allowing you to discern real dirt from flea dirt.
Drop the combings into a bowl or other container of soapy water and flush it down the toilet when your combing session is over.
Bathe your pet, A soothing bath will kill fleas (via drowning), help heal skin irritation, and make your furry companion feel more comfortable and less itchy. Also, clean animals aren’t as attractive to fleas. Pick a non-grain (no oatmeal) shampoo specifically for pets.
Be aware that some pets have a condition called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is sensitivity to flea saliva. This is actually a very common condition in dogs. It’s not the bite of a flea that causes most of the itching, it’s the saliva. And the saliva can cause irritation way out of proportion to the number of fleas on your pet.
That’s why lots of dog owners assume the terrible itching their pet is enduring can’t be flea related because they don’t see any fleas. In fact, a pet with FAD can be made absolutely miserable from the saliva of just one or two fleas. And it can make her uncomfortable for many weeks – long after the fleas are dead and gone.
If ticks are a problem where you live, the best way to control them is through daily grooming and nose-to-tail body checks of your pet. You should examine your dog or cat closely for ticks whenever he’s been outside, and at least once a day, regardless.
If you should find a tick attached to your pet, it must be removed carefully and safely.
No matter what combination of pest repellent systems you use, including chemical agents, your pet can still attract pests and parasites. In fact, even animals loaded with chemicals to the point of toxicosis can still, for example, acquire heartworm.
My advice is do all you can to avoid pests, relying on natural preventives as much as possible, and then have your vet run a SNAP 4Dx test every six months to check for the presence of heartworm and tick-borne diseases (Lyme, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia).
National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place the third full week in May each year. This year the dates are May 17-23, and the week focuses on educating people about how to prevent dog bites.
With an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in the US households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year. The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable.
- Prevent The Bite reports that according to the Center for Disease Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1-4, 9th for ages 5-9 and 10th for ages 10-14 from 2003-2012.
- The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
- The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery reports that according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2013 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
- The American Humane Association reports that 66% of bites among children occur to the head and neck.
Take this opportunity to learn more about dog bite prevention and help educate others so we can all work together to prevent dog bites.
Here are some good Hot weather Tips to keep in mind as the temperatures are rising:
Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heart worm’s if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication.
Keep emergency Info with you at ALL times
Keep important telephone numbers on you, in case an emergency happens you have all the contact phone numbers you may need. Also know the addresses and locations to the nearest animal clinic in your area.
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
Know the Warning Signs
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Get to know your pet
Learn to take your pet’s pulse, and breaths and rests when exercising, ask your veterinarian how to take your pet’s temperature as well. Knowing what is normal for your pet will help you recognize an emergency much quicker than if you didn’t. Normal temperatures on cats & dogs is around 101 degrees, anything over 103 is an emergency.
Never leave an animal in a parked car, even when it is only 80 degrees outside..the inside of a car can heat up to more than 120 degrees in just minutes. Even if you go into a store for just a minute, your pet is at risk for getting a heat stroke.
Keep animals out of direct Sunlight
Especially between the hours of 10AM and 6 PM, when a dog over heats it can lead to heat stroke which can cause brain damage or death. Some dogs may need a summer hair cut, just remember not to shave your pet’s hair too close to skin, creating a risk of sunburn or skin irritation.
Fireworks are not for pets
Please leave your animals home when you are heading out to celebrate 4th of July Festivities, many types of fireworks can contain toxic substances and fireworks also pets that are exposed to lit fireworks can result in severe burns and trauma.
Q: Is your pet at risk for any of the following:
D) All of the above
A: All of the above (and they ALL can be tough to spot!)
Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today to be sure
your pet is healthy!
Is your dog very tired? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may mean your pet has a flea allergy, an internal parasite infection, or a tick-related disease.
Let’s talk about fleas first. The majority of pets don’t have fleas—but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one flea bite (specifically the fleas saliva), to set off a full blown skin allergy. Pets may scratch their sides, neck or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful. What pet wants to move around or eat when feeling this miserable?
Internal parasites (such as worms) can infect your pet in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if your pet has them. But left untreated, worms can be dangerous to your pet’s internal organs. They can even cause your pet to lose blood.
Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Some ticks carry bacteria that cause disease (such as Lyme disease, but there are many others). And all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. They can become sick and develop kidney problems. At times, these diseases can be fatal.
Ugh! Is there any good news?
We’re experts when it comes to flea allergies, tick and internal parasite checks. Even if your pet is on regular monthly preventive, it is still important for us to make sure your pet is healthy.
Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail. Let’s also confirm the prevention you’re using is right for your pet!
It is important to have healthy puppies vaccinated against parvo viral gastroenteritis at the right age and boostered at appropriate time intervals. Please call our veterinarians and team members at Buena Vista Road Animal Hospital at 706-561-1171 with any questions that you might have. We look forward to hearing from you.
Is that a skin tag, a tick, a tumor or a toenail?
Your pet’s yearly checkup is vital to their health.
Make that appointment today!
October is the month for witches, pumpkins and things that go bump in the night.
But what if your pet has a bump…on their skin? Your pet may have bumps. Lumps.
Missing fur. A black spot. A funny-looking toenail. Are these things nothing, or
something of concern?
For even the most observant owners, it’s tough to know what skin issues are ok and
what needs further evaluation. Yes, your pet may have skin disease and you may not
even realize it. For example, your pet’s missing fur may be a bald spot from a tumble
or a fungus. Eeew! We can run a simple lab test to figure out which one it is!
And if your pet has a little bump, it may be cancer. If it’s left unchecked, the bump may
become larger and harder to remove, which may put your pet’s health at risk. But if we
take a look early enough, we may be able to remove it with a big sigh of relief!
And finally, that black “spot” you thought was a freckle on your pet, may be a tick!
If our team removes it within a certain amount of time, your pet will likely not be
infected by a tick-borne disease. Phew!
Skin is the largest organ of your pet’s body, and there’s a lot to examine. When you
bring your pet in for their yearly checkup, we’ll assess every part of it, from nose to tail!
We’ll look for spots, rashes, warts, skin tags and everything in between to make sure
your pet stays healthy…and cancer-free.
It’s time to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. We’ll perform a thorough skin check
and a few other easy tests if needed to keep your pet healthy and happy!
Make that appointment with us at Buena Vista Road Animal Hospital, today.