By Rhonda Baillargeon, LVT
Summer is here and along with fun and relaxation, the season brings pests that can cause serious problems for our beloved fur babies. At the risk of discouraging pet parents into a stay-cation, here are some of the parasites to watch out for.
FLEAS: Fleas love these warm, humid days and along with the obvious skin irritation they can cause from feeding on pets, they can transmit other parasites. These include tapeworms and bartonella infections. In addition, if the infection is severe enough, the fleas can cause anemia from all the blood they ingest. Fleas are also very difficult to get rid of if your house becomes infested.
TICKS: Ticks are another pesky summertime parasite. Aside from the obvious disgust caused upon discovery of one on ourselves or our pets, they can also cause severe disease. Different types of ticks can transmit different diseases. These diseases include Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, and most recently, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Luckily, there are some very good preventative medications that help control infestations with both fleas and ticks. Talk to us to see if there is one that is appropriate for your pet and lifestyle.
MOSQUITOS: These flying insects are not only annoying, they can carry heartworm larvae and viruses that can infect us. Heartworms are silent killers that can infect both dogs and cats. It is important to remember that even indoor pets can get bit by mosquitos. Fortunately, preventative medications can help avoid infection with heartworms but the viruses are a little harder to prevent.
Soaking in the pond or lake to beat the heat? These water sources can harbor dangerous pests as well.
LEPTOSPIROSIS: This bacteria is found in the urine of livestock and wildlife. It is transmitted to our pets when they drink infected water sources and can cause severe kidney disease. The good news is that there is a vaccine that can protect your pet from getting sick.
GIARDIA: This is an intestinal parasite that is found in the stools of wildlife. It is also transmitted by drinking infected water sources and can cause severe diarrhea. This parasite can infect people too, so be sure not to consume too much water when leaping from that rope swing!
It is a good idea to begin a vaccination program and use flea and tick preventatives before any potential exposure to be sure these products reach full effectiveness. Try to limit how much water your pet consumes from unknown sources and wipe them down thoroughly after playing in the water. At the first sign of illness, schedule an appointment for an examination by one of our veterinarians because the sooner treatment can be started, the better the outcome with all of these parasites.
Have a great summer and stay safe!