Although many owners turn their attention to flea, tick, and other pest prevention once the temps start to rise, parasites thrive throughout the year, especially in temperate climates such as Austin’s. Like heartworm prevention, flea and tick control is necessary to keep your pet healthy and to prevent people in your home from contracting zoonotic illnesses.
Flea and Tick Risks
If you’ve ever had a flea infestation in the home or have been hiking in a wooded area where ticks thrive, you likely know that parasites can be problematic. However, besides the hassle of infestation, these pests carry many diseases that can harm both pets and people.
Some of these include:
- Lyme (ticks)
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever (ticks)
- Tapeworm (fleas)
- Flea bite dermatitis
- Ehrlichiosis (ticks)
- Cat scratch fever (fleas)
Both fleas and ticks feed off warm-blooded mammals and can cause anemia when left untreated. Fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day, which is why it takes only a few to “hitchhike” their way indoors on a family pet for an infestation to occur.
There are several species of ticks, and in our region, the Lyme disease-carrying black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) is prevalent. Ticks can also reproduce year-round on a host animal, progressing through four different stages: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. Females can lay several thousand eggs at a time.
Although in some very cold parts of the country, flea and tick activity can lessen during the winter months, these hardy pests require several days of freezing temperatures to go into hibernation. That’s why warm winter states need to be particularly vigilant about parasites throughout the year.
Prevention is Key: Flea and Tick Control
Since we can’t evade all parasites completely, the single most effective method of flea and tick control is prevention. Because each pet is unique, the team at BEEVET can help you determine which preventive is best for your precious pal, along with any other wellness care needs.
By maintaining your pet’s annual wellness appointment (or biannual for senior pets and exotics), we can look for any potential parasite issues, as well as screen for internal parasites like hookworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.
At home, try to make your environment less friendly to fleas and ticks. This includes keeping grasses and weeds trimmed, vacuuming frequently, and laundering your pet’s bedding often.
It’s also a good idea to routinely inspect your pet for fleas and ticks, especially after spending time outside and in wooded areas.
For more information on how you can combat fleas and ticks while keeping your fur friend safe, please give us a call!