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Bug Basics: Part Two

The spring and summer months are a wonderful time for exploring the outdoors and enjoying the warmer weather. Unfortunately, it’s not just our four-legged friends that take advantage of the improved weather – there are all sorts of creepy crawlers that also come out, that we need to protect our pets from.

 

Fleas:

Fleas are parasitic six-legged insects that feed on the blood of their hosts. Fleas live outdoors, but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round, and in any climate. They are hearty and nimble creatures, that will use phenomenal leaping abilities to attach themselves, and move through, the fur of your pet. They can reproduce very quickly, which means, if not taken care of, they can become a significant issue. If your pet becomes infected with fleas, it can be quite uncomfortable. They can cause flea allergy dermatitis, hair loss, and secondary skin irritations. Signs to look for include droppings or “flea dirt” in your pet’s coat, flea eggs on your pet or in their environment, and/or your pet engaging in excessive scratching or licking, especially of their sides, neck or paws, until the areas are red and painful.

 

Intestinal Parasites: 

When your pet is outdoors, exploring and enjoying themselves, it is possible for them to pick up various intestinal parasites. Depending on the type of parasite, your pet may be affected in a number of ways. And it’s not always evident that your pet is infected. However, if left untreated, the consequences can be severe.

 

Fortunately, if you have concerns that your pet may be infected with either fleas or an intestinal parasite, your veterinarian can help! Fecal tests can be used to determine if your pet currently has an intestinal parasite. If so, they can be administered the appropriate medication. Your veterinarian can also assist you in determining if your pet has fleas. Furthermore, many of the preventative medications offered for heartworm and ticks (see last month’s blog for more details!), will also protect your pet from fleas and various intestinal parasites. Keep in mind, different medications will protect your pet to varying degrees, so ask your veterinarian which medication is right for your pet!

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