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The Importance of Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention

poodle heartworm prevention

What are the best and most affordable options to avoid flea, tick, and heartworm taking up residence on/in your pet, and doing untold health damage?

Especially here In South Florida, the need to prevent heartache, expensive veterinary treatment, and most importantly, saving your pet from suffering, is imperative! All over the country, temps are on the rise, trees are starting to bud, and flowers are starting to bloom.

But if you could protect yourself, your family, and your pet from fleas, ticks, and heartworms by administering a monthly, quarterly, or even semi-annual dose of medication to your pet, why wouldn’t you?

The Facts About Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworms

Tropical species of mosquitos are now being found as far north as Minnesota and as far west as Nevada. Mosquitos can transmit heartworms to your pets.

Heartworm life cycle

And it’s not just mosquitos. Lyme disease, a tickborne illness historically associated with the Northeast, has now been diagnosed in all 50 states. Additionally, there has been a 5.6% increase in dogs and a 9.9% increase in cats in flea infestations reported by veterinarians in the last 10 years.

Heartworm-Causing Mosquitos

So, what does this mean for our pets? Mosquitos are more than just pesky little bugs. In peak season, dogs can be bitten by as many as 500 mosquitos PER DAY. Over 70 species of mosquitos have been shown to be capable of transmitting dangerous heartworms to dogs and cats.

According to the American Heartworm Society, only half the number of dogs that are pets and 5% of cats regularly receive heartworm preventative.

Ticks That Carry Diseases

Ticks that used to only be found along the Gulf Coast have traveled to the Central United States, and all their diseases have gone along for the ride. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and Ehrlichiosis are being diagnosed all over the United States, both in animals and in people.

Fleas That Lead to Tapeworms and Cat Scratch Disease

Bartonellosis, or cat scratch disease, is on the rise as well. The causative agent, Bartonella henselae, is transmitted between cats by fleas and is likely to be terribly underdiagnosed due to emerging symptoms that were unknown until recently, as they are not listed among the ‘classic’ symptoms of the disease. Fleas also carry tapeworms, which can cause severe gastrointestinal, as well as system-wide, problems in household pets. A veterinarian that I worked with for many years used to say that if a pet owner saw even one flea on their pet, we should assume that pet has tapeworms. Tapeworms are zoonotic, meaning they can cross over the canine = human threshold, and we can “catch” tapeworms from our pets!

All Pets (Even Indoor) Need Year-Round Protection

As cities expand and urban sprawl continues, residential buildings, shopping centers, and parking lots create “heat islands” that are capable of moderating temperatures throughout seasonal changes. This establishes microcosms that allow these parasites to survive.

A mosquito larva can survive in any small puddle, even in a flowerpot! Mosquitos, fleas, and ticks can travel through doors and windows, and they can even hitch a ride on clothing to come into your home and infect your pet.

This is why parasite prevention is ESSENTIAL for dogs and cats. No matter where you live and no matter your lifestyle, dogs and cats should be on heartworm, flea, and tick prevention year-round. Even if you have an inside-only cat or mini /tiny little dog, they still need this protection!

It’s much better for your pets’ health to be safe rather than sorry.

How to Protect Your Pet From Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworms

Many preventatives on the market can treat a wide spectrum of parasites with a single treatment. Others focus on particular groups of parasites, which means they are usually prescribed together.

For example, Trifexis is used to prevent not only heartworms but also intestinal parasites and fleas. Credelio is used to prevent fleas and ticks, while Interceptor Plus is prescribed to prevent heartworms and intestinal parasites.

Here are some effective preventative products readily available through your Veterinarian:

Combination Products:  Trifexis,  Sentinel, Revolution, Revolution Plus,  Bravecto Plus , Simparica TRIO
Heartworm and Intestinal Parasite Products:  Interceptor Plus, Heartgard, Tri-Heart Plus, Iverhart, Coraxis Flea and Tick Products: Credelio,  Nexgard,  Bravecto, Simparica, Advantage Multi, Comfortis.

Along with the prevention of parasites, you’ll also need to know the puppy vaccine schedule for your new pup. Go read this article to find the puppy vaccine schedule and more about the diseases vaccines prevent. Visit our friends at Petlife Animal Hospital for both parasite treatment and vaccine adminstration.

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