Many pet parents think that fleas and ticks are just a problem in the spring and summer, so they typically take their pets to the vet for treatment during the warmer months. But according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), parasites are a year-round problem, which is why they are recommending that veterinarians provide treatment all year long. In addition, the CAPC is predicting a much wider expansion of parasitic diseases this summer, particularly in areas where these diseases are not commonly found. In this week’s blog post, Pet Naturals® of Vermont provides some prevention tips and useful information about parasites from the CAPC.
The CAPC has a lot of useful information on their website, including an overview of the various types of parasites and parasite prevalence maps, which you can search by parasite and the affected animal. This 2014 parasite forecast was taken directly from the DVM 360 news center online. It lists the CAPC’s recommendations for pet owners.
“Here are some of the nationwide trends the organization is predicting for parasites this year:
> Ticks that spread Lyme disease are expanding their territory from the Northeastern states westward into areas of the Midwest and southward into the Mid-Atlantic states. Lyme disease will continue to be a threat in New England and the Pacific Northwest.
> The risk of ehrlichiosis will be very high from Virginia to Texas and as far west as Texas.
> Heartworm disease is also expected to be a substantial threat, with Texas, the Southeast and Pacific Coast areas from Northern California to Washington state seeing higher than normal levels of infection.
CAPC is launching a satellite media tour, scheduled for the month of April, to talk to pet owners about these issues directly. The campaign, which features Cathy Lund, DVM, president of the CAPC board of directors, and practitioner Craig Prior, BVSc, of Murphy Road Animal Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., will focus on the following points:
> Contrary to popular belief, parasites—particularly ticks—are a year-round problem.
> Ticks and the threat of diseases they carry are no longer a “not in my backyard” issue. There are multiple species of ticks with tremendous geographic reach and greater periods of activity that pose a threat.
> The zoonotic disease threat these parasites pose goes beyond pets, so preventive measures should be applied to the whole family, not just dogs and cats.
> Consult a veterinarian for the best parasite prevention plan for your pet.”
Professional Flea and Tick Treatments
That last bullet point is an important one. We strongly recommend that you speak with your vet about the best treatment for your dog or cat. Using an over-the-counter treatment at home can be harmful if not used properly. Many dog treatments are too strong for cats. Improper use of these products can be toxic and even deadly to some pets.
If you hire an exterminator to professionally treat your home, make sure you ask about what to do before and after the treatment to ensure that the problem doesn’t recur. Last fall, we published a blog post about how fleas and ticks can be a problem throughout the winter. You can read those tips here.
Flea + Tick
In addition to treatments, we recommend using a natural repellant for extra protection when your pets are outside. Flea + Tick Repellent by Pet Naturals® is a natural insect repellant that contains a combination of Brazilian oils used by Amazon natives for centuries to shield them from unwanted pests. These active ingredients have a refreshing scent and will not leave a sticky residue. Flea + Tick is available in a spray or wipes for ultimate convenience.
This product does not contain any drugs or synthetic chemicals, and it is safe for use on all pets, bedding, and applications to collars, with no known toxic effects from licking the skin. Keep in mind that using Flea + Tick is not a replacement for a professional treatment, and it will not prevent disease. It is intended to be used to keep pests away from your pets. Speak to your vet about how to provide the ultimate protection for your pets.
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