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Few sights are as common -- and therefore less alarming -- to pet owners than a dog or cat scratching at an itch. But when the scratching, licking, chewing, and biting becomes a constant occurrence, it may mean trouble in the form of fleas or ticks. These tiny creatures can do enormous damage to your beloved pet's health, not only through skin problems but also through the transmission of zoonotic diseases. That's why it's so important to pursue the flea and tick prevention options offered here at Village Veterinary Clinic in Burke, VA.
Fleas and ticks are very different creatures, but they're both parasitic pests that feed off the blood of their hosts. A tick can draw more blood at one "feeding" than a flea, but flea infestations in great numbers can cause serious anemia or in very severe cases even death, especially in very young or frail animals. The bites themselves often trigger allergic reactions, producing dermatitis that compels your pet to scratch, lick or chew the affected area. This then can potentially cause bacterial infections of the skin.
Even if you manage to remove fleas and ticks from your pet(s), these parasites may have already done their damage. Flea bites transmit tapeworms, bubonic plague, cat scratch disease, and haemobartonellosis. Tick bites transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, as well as other diseases. In short, you don't want fleas or ticks on your pet at all!
Home care best practices, such as frequent vacuuming, keeping the lawn trimmed and chemically treating the yard, shrubs and mulch, can reduce the risk of flea and tick infestation. However, if you want to ensure that your pet is protected, it is essential that your cat or dog be on a pest prevention program. Any of our veterinarians will gladly recommend medications that kill fleas and/or ticks at various stages of these creatures' life cycles. Most topical and oral flea and tick preventatives are meant to be administered every month for best protection.
Seresto flea and tick collars are effective for up to 8 months and are a safe and convenient treatment for many pets, but some animals may be allergic to them. There are many effective products on the market for flea and tick prevention, but it is prohibitive to stock them all. We carry in-house topical Frontline Gold for cats and dogs and Nexgard and Simparica chewable tablets (for dogs only). They are all effective, easy-to-administer preventatives and come with attractive manufacturers rebates. A wider variety of flea and tick preventives are available through our on-line store, Vetsource. For dogs that are at high risk for tick bites we strongly recommend vaccinating for Lyme disease.
Pets can't keep themselves pest-free at all times; it's up to you to protect your dog or cat from the discomfort and diseases caused by flea and tick infestations. Prevention is the best medicine, so call Village Veterinary Clinic at 703-978-8655 today to arrange for your pet's flea and tick prevention program.