For many Canadians, summer is best spent by the lake. There’s nothing like emerging from the rootbeer-dark water, climbing onto the dock, and drying off with a warm towel. However, this moment is quickly ruined when a leech is discovered burrowed between two wrinkly toes!
Acquiring an unwanted hitchhiker can spoil a summer vacation for both us and our furry family members. The warm months of the year are nicknamed “Flea and Tick Season” because while we are enjoying the weather, these creepy crawlies are out, looking for hosts. However, our pets don’t have to go to a swim to pick up a pest! Their close proximity to the ground and warm fur make them easy targets.
Unlike ticks or leeches that will feed and detach, fleas will feed, breed, and live on a host. A cat or dog with fleas will be constantly bitten, causing extreme discomfort, pain, and eventually, anemia from blood loss. Fleas can also carry intestinal parasites like tapeworm, which can be transmitted to your pet if ingested.
Tick larvae, nymphs, and adults (who’ll lay thousands of eggs) need to feed each time they transition to the next stage of their lifecycle. While burrowed in their hosts, ticks can transmit many nasty illnesses, including Lyme disease. Recently spotted in Canada, the new “Lonestar Tick” has been known to pursue its prey and human hosts have afterwards developed an allergy to red meat!
When humans go for a hike, we use bug spray and check ourselves for ticks. For pets, there’s a lot more to consider, such as lifestyle, if there are cats in the household, and even the animal’s weight. With many knock-off brands on the market, it can be tricky to find a safe and effective preventative, so consulting with your veterinarian is always the best option to put your pet’s health first.
Just like true Canadians, fleas and ticks don’t seem to mind the cold, so many pet parents choose to use prevention year-round. However, these pests love the heat as much as we do! With a proper action plan, we can ensure that when we pack up the cottage at the end of the summer, we don’t bring any creepy crawlies home as souvenirs!
Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.