The sun is shining and the air is fresh and clean. The outside is beckoning you and your best friend to enjoy the outside world. Go and have some fun. Before you venture out make sure you have taken precautionary steps to safeguard your pet from fleas, ticks and, of course, heartworm.
We are fortunate to have an easy way to keep our animals safe from these pesky critters that can cause such health issues if left untreated. Once a month you can put a topical treatment on your pet that helps to keep fleas and ticks away and also intestinal parasites. The same day you do that treatment you can give your pet a chewable tablet that prevents heartworm. What could be simpler! Now you are ready for the sun and fun. Remember, thought that even if you use these preventatives you may still find an occasional tick walking up their body toward its head. You can usually find ticks around the ears, and fleas are most commonly found around the rump end of your pet.
When you are finished with playtime outside, give your pet a nice once over with your fingers. You can massage the head area and run your hands down your pet’s body. See if you feel anything that doesn’t belong. This is also a great way to feel any other abnormalities on its body. When you get to the back-end area, lift the hair and see if there are any signs of fleas. Flea debris is black and gritty. When you are finished you can give your pet a quick brushing or combing. This is the perfect way to end a nice day with your best friend and a way for your pet to wind down. We all know our pets love the attention! Now I bet you will find yours will be asleep in a short while. Utter contentment!
There is another disease that you may not know about that your dog should be vaccinated against. It is called Leptospirosis. Here is the veterinary assistant in me coming out. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is passed from livestock and wildlife via the urine into water sources. The bacteria can be present in stagnant water such as puddles and also ponds and lakes. Leptospirosis is contagious and can be passed from dog to dog or dog to people. Talk to your veterinarian and find out the symptoms and look into getting your dog vaccinated.
If you have cats (we know you are keeping them indoors), you should also check them. Your dog may bring some uninvited guests into your home. Always keep an eye open and know what you are looking for.
Animal Welfare Society recently took in two beautiful cats that were left in a barn and when they arrived at our shelter they were covered with ticks. Their bodies were very much irritated, and our manager was concerned about anemia due to the fact that ticks feed off the animals blood supply. They were loaded up with supplements, and their bodies were shaved so the sores could heal. They are on their way to recovery and are very happy that they are safe from outdoor predators and have all the food they need. They will soon be ready for adoption. We know who ever adopts these cats will have wonderful companions for the rest of their lives.
There is a monthly topical treatment for cats that can keep them safe from a lot of parasites. Check with your veterinarian for the best product for your pet. Even though your cats may live indoors, the outdoors always finds a way in. Fleas can be brought in by people as well as other animals. Fleas can also be hosts for tapeworm and other parasites. An uninvited mouse can also bring fleas into your home.
Heartworm can be carried indoors by mosquitoes. Heartworm has the potential to be lethal and as of now there is no known treatment for cats with heartworm. Over 25 percent of cats with proven heartworm infection are kept exclusively indoors.
Hookworm larvae can be found in sandboxes and can be transmitted to people. Cats become infected through ingestion of other infected animals such as birds, rodents or through mother’s milk.
Roundworm eggs are tracked indoors from dirt on shoes. Roundworm can also be passed to people and are very dangerous to young children and kittens.
Ear mites find their way indoors by dogs and other pets. Infected cats are at a greater risk for potentially serious bacterial infections.
We all know our dogs must be vaccinated for rabies—and, yes, even our indoor cats. Mice and bats can get into our homes very easily and carry rabies with them.
None of this should ever have to happen to your best friends. If you take just a few extra minutes to regularly check your pets, they will stay free and clear and so will your household.
Have a wonderful spring!