Now that the days are warmer and longer, pet owners need to protect their furry friends from uninvited guests — fleas and ticks.
Maia Chrupcala, owner of the doggy daycare, , said with this year’s warmer winter, the pests never completely went away, and we should start to protect pets year-round. Chrupcala, a veterinary technician, said she believes the practice of using flea and tick protection seasonally is a thing of the past.
Colder air inhibits ticks' development from egg to larva, which is why if the air stays warmer, their population will continue to grow.
Both fleas and ticks are external parasites, which live on the blood of mammals, birds and even reptiles or amphibians, a process known as hematophagy.
Ticks transmit a number of diseases such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, tick paralysis, tick-borne meningoencephalitis, as well as bovine anaplasmosis. Because ticks can harbor more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time.
Fleas are a nuisance to their hosts, causing an itching sensation which in turn may result in biting and scratching which causes discomfort, hot spots or loss of hair. Some hosts are allergic to flea saliva, which can cause a rash and significant discomfort.
Chrupcala has used her training as a veterinary technician and experience at the to help protect her current pack at the Wiggle Room, which includes her own French Mastiff Scarlette.
She offers this advice for pet owners:
- In her experience, the most effective flea and tick protection medicines are Advantix and Frontline. She warned against purchasing medicine anywhere except your veterinarian because the product is not controlled, and could be toxic or ineffective. Online pet pharmacies are not safe, Chrupcala said.
- She warned that flea collars available at the stores are not safe or effective.
- She said generic store brands are not considered effective and in some cases, have been unsafe.
- She said many owners are reporting that despite using a credible flea and tick medicine, they are still finding ticks on their pets. Pet owners can safely apply flea and tick medicine every three weeks, Chrupcala said.
- She advised to check pets before you go back inside from a walk. The fleas and ticks will jump off the pet if the medicine is working. If they jump off inside, they can jump on humans.
We want to know: Have you found more ticks on your pets this year? What do you find is the most effective way to protect your pet?