Parasite Perils: The Importance of Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention
As we begin to experience spring here in Davenport, we also must contend with the usual suspects of spring discomfort: fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks. Couple the warm, humid weather with some time on a lake or near the river, and voila, the biting commences. No wonder flea, tick, and heartworm prevention is a hot topic among pet owners.
Unfortunately, these parasites bring more than just discomfort. Vector-borne diseases can cause serious illness in your pet as well as health risks to the family. These illnesses can include:
Keeping Fleas and Ticks at Bay
Before diving into at-home tips for reducing your pet’s exposure to parasites, it is important to remember that the most effective method of reducing the risk of vector-borne diseases is through vaccinations and parasite preventives. These preventive measures are essential in keeping flea- and tick-transmitted illnesses from entering the home, and we encourage you to maintain your pet’s wellness examinations and vaccine/preventive protocols.
Other methods for reducing flea and tick populations in and around your home include:
It’s also important to remember that wellness exams include screenings for the presence of heartworm and internal parasites, which is the safest method to ensuring your pet’s health.
Heartworm disease can bring heartbreak for many pet owners, as treatment is both risky and expensive for dogs, and non-existent for cats. Transmitted through a mosquito bite, heartworms compromise the heart, lungs, and blood vessels and can result in lasting damage to the organs or sudden death.
In dogs, symptoms can include fatigue, persistent cough, and loss of appetite. And, while heartworm is more prevalent in canines, we are now seeing many more cases of feline heartworm disease, particularly in animal shelters.
Fortunately, the disease is preventable through the use of a year-round preventive. Please call us to have your pet screened for heartworm and to start a preventive to help safeguard him or her from this potentially life-threatening disease.
Some methods you can use to prevent mosquitos around the yard and home include:
Spring has sprung and the bugs are out! But, with a few simple steps and preventive veterinary care for your pet, you and your best friend can enjoy the spring and summer bite-free.