Flea and tick prevention

submitted by VCA Neshaminy Animal Hospital,

Flea and tick prevention consists of a variety of products used to control flea and/or tick infestations on your pet and inside your home.

Fleas are small insects that are parasitic; they feed on blood from animals and/or people. Ticks are a type of arachnid (like spiders, scorpions, and mites) that are also parasitic.

Fleas and ticks can live in many climate zones, but they prefer humid and shady areas like woods, in leaf piles, in shrubbery, and tall grasses.

Fleas have incredible jumping ability while ticks cannot jump but can fall from trees or climb onto you or your pet as you walk through grass or under trees.

Their bites can cause skin irritation and in some cases they can cause severe allergic reactions in both pets and people.

They both can carry diseases and can cause illness both in pets and people. Some of these diseases can be deadly and others can cause severe, chronic, and lifelong illness. Prevention is key to avoid these problems.

Due to their small size, physical examination is the most useful method to identify signs of fleas or ticks.

Using a flea comb can help identify the presence of adult fleas or flea dirt. Flea dirt (flea feces) looks like brownish-black granular “dirt” that will dissolve and turn red when placed on a wet paper towel.

Fleas prefer the head and neck area of cats, and the rump and tail area of dogs. Ticks vary in size from the head of a pin to a pencil eraser and prefer dark and hidden areas like the ears, armpits, groin, tail, and between the toes.

Because both fleas and ticks can survive in a variety of climates and can live inside your home and on your warm pet, many veterinary professionals agree that year-round prevention is recommended when possible.

Depending on your lifestyle, your pet’s lifestyle, and your needs and preferences, your veterinarian will help you choose a product that works best for you and your pet.

PHOTO CAP: “Cannoli” is free from itchy fleas and tick-borne disease, as he is covered by his combination flea/tick monthly preventative called Simparica Trio.

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