Dealing with parasites is a very common part of pet ownership. Preventatives are widely available, but unfortunately, if they aren’t administered correctly or if they aren’t given exactly on time, animals can still be vulnerable to the very parasites that they are supposed to be protected against. Three of the most prevalent parasites that you should protect your pet from are fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
Why you need to protect your pet from fleas
Fleas are probably the most well-known of all pet parasites. They are tiny, wingless creatures that are near impossible to spot with the naked eye. They live on your pet’s skin, drinking her blood to survive. However, in addition to blood loss, their saliva contains toxins that can trigger intense itching and even an allergic reaction in animals. Fleas can also carry diseases.
One of the biggest problems with fleas is the rate at which this parasite reproduces. Each female can lay hundreds of eggs, and their short life-cycle means that a pair of fleas can turn into a small army in just a couple of months. They are also notoriously hard to completely eradicate from your home.
All in all, it is safe to say that a flea infestation is a pretty miserable experience for any pet.
Why you need to protect your pet from ticks
Ticks are another external parasite. Nevertheless, ticks are larger than fleas and it is possible to spot them nestled amongst your pet’s fur. They drink the blood they need and then drop off until they need to feed again. However, the largest danger posed by ticks is the many diseases that they can carry, which range from babesiosis and rocky mountain spotted fever to Lyme disease. Some tick saliva also has paralytic properties and tick-borne paralysis can become a life-threatening situation if your pet’s respiratory or circulatory systems are affected.
Why you need to protect your pet from heartworms
Heartworms are arguably the most dangerous type of internal parasite. These worms are transmitted by mosquitos and as the larvae matures into adult worms, each up to 12 inches in length, they clog the blood vessels in the heart and lungs. This leads to irreversible damage to her organs and, left untreated, your pet will almost certainly die.
Although dogs are the most natural host for heartworms, it is not unheard of for cats, ferrets, and other domestic animals to be affected.
How to get rid of fleas, ticks, and heartworms
There are a range of different treatments that can be used to treat fleas, ticks, and heartworms. In the case of external parasites, it is also important to treat your home. This is especially important for fleas which are extremely hardy and hide in hard to reach parts of your home, such as the cracks between floorboard or under the furniture. The eggs can lie dormant for months before hatching if the conditions aren’t right, and this means that re-infestations occur very easily.
However, as with all medical problems including parasite infestations, prevention is always better than cure.
Flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives
There is a huge selection of different preventatives to choose from which, if properly administered, will be able to ensure that your precious pal is safe from fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you which is likely to be the best solution for your furbaby. However, two highly popular products that we would recommend are ProHeart 6 and Simparica.
ProHeart 6 is a popular preventative that offers dogs an amazing 6 months of protection against heartworms. This makes it a great choice for owners who struggle to remember or make time to delivery monthly preventatives. It is the only injectable treatment available and is particularly good for dogs who aren’t good at taking oral medications. It can only be administered by your vet who will need to check your pet’s suitability for the preventative ahead before it can be given.
Simparica is a very popular flea and tick preventative that is given once a month and will deliver continuous protection against these parasites for up to 35 days. That said, it is recommended that you deliver this monthly preventative, which is in the form of a chewable tablet, on the same date every month.
If you would like more information on either ProHeart 6, Simparica or any other preventative, or if you have further questions about fleas, ticks, and heartworms, our experienced team would be happy to help. Get in touch today and start protecting your pet from the debilitating effects of parasite infections.