Creepy Crawlies

Prevention is much easier and healthier than treatment!

When your furry family member comes in for a wellness exam one of the major topics that the veterinarian will discuss with you is preventative medicine. We will ask you questions about your furry little one’s lifestyle so that we can assess their exposure to certain risk factors. Vaccines are an effective way to prevent many common viruses and some bacteria and anti-parasitic medications can prevent and treat different parasitic infestations. Heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other internal and external parasites are much more than just pests, they can cause life-threatening conditions in both your furry and human family members. The medications that we use require a prescription, which means that our veterinary team has to have seen your furry family member for a physical exam within the past year. This is a legal requirement for all veterinary clinics dispensing prescription medications.

Contact us to learn more about different preventive options, to refill a prescription or to book an appointment with a veterinarian to start a preventive regimen.

  • Flea Control
  • The most common flea found on cats and dogs is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), although any species of fleas, including fleas from rabbits, squirrels or other wildlife, can be found on your furry family members. Adult fleas get carried into your house by your furry little ones where they thrive in carpets and bedding. Even though fleas may be in your house, you probably won’t see them. The eggs are tiny white specks the size of dust particles, while the larvae, which are somewhat larger, with dark heads and lighter bodies, migrate deep down in carpets, furniture or cracks in floors away from the light.

    Flea bites cause severe itching for both your furry and human family members. Some animals develop an allergy to fleabites, especially if they are repeatedly bitten. Fleas are also the intermediate host for one species of tapeworm which is transmitted when a dog or cat swallows an infected flea while grooming, so any furry little one with fleas likely also has a tapeworm infestation.

    If you would like to get your furry family member on a flea prevention medication, or if you need flea treatment for your furry little one and your house, please contact us today.

  • Heartworm Prevention
  • Mosquitoes can transmit heartworms when they bite our feline and canine friends. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection, but in those that do, symptoms can vary widely. In dogs, signs of heartworm disease include coughing, fatigue, weight loss, difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure); without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death. When cats get a heartworm infection they can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD). The symptoms of HARD can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and decreased appetite or weight loss. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.

    Treatment for heartworm infection in dogs is far more expensive than prevention, and the treatment itself can be fatal. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection, while others might not survive it. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent heartworm infestations. We are lucky that mosquitoes are only out pestering us in the summer months so our typical prevention regimens run from June to November. If your pet travels with you we may recommend year-long prevention.

  • Tick Prevention
  • Ticks are becoming more and more prevalent in North America, which is not only a nuisance, but also a major health concern for people and pets. Tick bites can cause serious diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. There are 3 steps in preventing tick transmitted diseases. The first is having your furry little one on a tick preventative medication. Talk to our veterinary team to find a medication that would work best for your canine or feline family members. The second line of defense is checking your pet (and yourself) for ticks and safely removing them before they have a chance to transmit diseases. It is a good habit to check for hitch hiking creepy crawlies, especially after walks or playing outside in wooded areas. The third step applies specifically to the transmission of Lyme disease by deer ticks. The Lyme vaccine is one of the optional vaccinations that our clinic offers; talk to our veterinary team to see if this is a good option for your canine family member.

    Don’t panic if you find a tick on your dog or cat, even if they are on a preventive, as some medications require the tick to bite in order to work. Grab a pair of gloves, tweezers or a tick remover, and a sealable container with some rubbing alcohol in it. Put the gloves on and using the tweezers or tick remover, grab the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible and pull it out using a straight motion. Do not twist or squeeze the tick as you don’t want to leave any mouthparts behind or push fluids from the tick into your pet. Once removed, place the tick in the sealed container with rubbing alcohol. We recommend that you either bring it in to the clinic for us to ID or keep it at home in case your pet begins displaying symptoms of disease. It is important to remove ticks as soon as you find them to prevent the transmission of disease – they can start transmitting pathogens within 24 hours after they bite. If you are uncomfortable removing a tick from your pet, contact us and we would be happy to help.