Parasite Prevention and Control
Pets are prone to getting parasites. Cats and dogs can have this problem, even pets that live indoors. If you’re a pet owner, it’s important to know what kind of parasites can affect your pet and what you can do about it. At Animal Health Group, your veterinarian in Staten Island helps pet owners prevent parasitic infections in their pets. This helps pets by improving their quality of life and protecting them from diseases.
Parasites That Can Affect Your Pet
Depending on where your pet goes and what your pet does, your pet may be vulnerable to a variety of parasites, including:
- Fleas – Fleas attach themselves to pets and live by sucking their blood. Fleas can cause severe skin irritation, misery for the pet, anemia, allergies and intestinal parasites. Fleas travel easily from one pet to another and can also be found in the carpeting and upholstery of homes where pets have been infested by fleas.
- Ticks – Ticks attach themselves to pets and lodge on the skin while they suck blood from the pet. Ticks can transmit diseases like Lyme disease.
- Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes live off pets in the same way they live off humans. Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection to pets.
Prevention and Control
There are many ways that your Staten Island Veterinarian can prevent your pet from being affected by parasites, including:
- Preventative medications – At Animal Health Group, we provide many different options for flea, tick, mosquito and heartworm prevention. Some pet owners like to provide their pets with these medications only at the time of year when these pests are the greatest threat, but we recommend keeping pets on year-round protection, as the time of year when these parasites can affect your pet is getting longer. Providing your pet with year-round protection ensures your pet is as well protected as possible. To find out more about which medications we recommend, talk to your pet’s veterinarian in Staten Island.
- Prevent ticks through yard maintenance – Ticks start off in lawn debris, like in leaf piles and on long pieces of grass. Maintain your yard to make conditions less ideal for ticks.
- Prevent fleas by controlling contact with other animals – Fleas spread from animal-to-animal contact. Control which animals your pet interacts with to prevent the spread of fleas to your animal.
Recognize the Symptoms
Pets who are affected by fleas, ticks, and mosquitos may spend a lot of time scratching one area or expressing physical discomfort, like shaking his or her head or lick or rub his or her paws. Watch your pet for these behaviors, so you can get your pet treatment for fleas or ticks if your pet should be affected.
At the Animal Health Group, our Bayonne and Staten Island veterinarian team believe in the basic idea that disease prevention is easier, less expensive, and far less stressful to deal with that disease treatment. That’s why we’re strong proponents of maintaining a proper flea and tick prevention routine all through the year–no matter the season.
Common Pet Diseases & Illnesses Spread by Fleas, Ticks & Other Parasites
All creatures in your community–including wildlife, your pets, even you and your family members–are potentially at risk for flea and tick-borne illnesses. Many of these are transmissible from animal to animal, as well–and in some cases even animal to human.
Here are a few of the parasite-related illnesses and issues that our vet staff evaluates and treats in unprotected cats and dogs:
- Fleas: aside from itchy and irritated skin, these contagious critters can lead to hot spots on your pet’s skin that easily become infected
- Mosquitoes: these bugs are most known for carrying heartworm larvae (which they catch from infected wildlife); these heartworm larvae can be transmitted into dogs and cats where they can live for years and lodge in major organs and grow up to 12 inches long or more!
- Ticks: common tick-borne illnesses in our region of the country include anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and (strangely enough) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Top 3 Flea & Tick Prevention Tips from Our Veterinarian Team
Our cats and dogs will always have at least some risk of being exposed to fleas and ticks. Here are a few things you can do to reduce that risk as much as possible:
- Give your pet the appropriate type and dose of preventive medication all throughout the year. Even if your pet is an indoor pet only, you should still get in the habit of giving it monthly flea and tick medication. Ask your Staten Island veterinarian about the correct medication you need to give to your animal–and never give your cat a medication intended for a dog or vice versa.
- Know the symptoms of a potential parasite-borne infection. If you notice lameness, lethargy, decreased appetite, or frequent itching or scratching, these could be signs or symptoms of a flea infestation and/or parasite-borne illness. Always talk to your vet about any concerns you have about your pet’s health, and if in doubt, be sure to bring your animal in so a proper disease screening can be done.
- Maintain a trim and tidy yard, as well as a clean home. Bugs–fleas especially–love everything from plants to couches–and dogs and cats, of course. In the case of flea and tick prevention, cleanliness is key. Maintaining a clean home (inside and out) helps reduce the chances of fleas, mosquitos, ticks, and other critters from lodging and growing in your environment.
Schedule an Appointment at Our Animal Hospital in Staten Island Today!
Your animal deserves to live a long and healthy life, and at the Animal Health Group, our staff wants to help your pet achieve just that! To learn more about our parasite prevention services or to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, then contact our animal hospital in Staten Island today.