Flea & Tick season is upon us!
In Northwest Florida, however, Fleas and Ticks live year-round, depending on each’s individual life cycle.
Fleas and Ticks can be found on your pet year-round, but can be more numerous during certain times of the year. This can depend on your pets’ exposure to certain kinds of foliage as well as environmental conditions such as the weather.
Following is some Flea & Tick Prevention and Care information that every pet owner should know.
Fleas are the most common animal parasite other than mosquitos and can transmit disease between animals and humans. There are many products that effectively kill fleas. A “flea dip” is an insecticide designed to remain on an animal for five to fifteen minutes in order to be effective. A “flea shampoo” is an insecticide mixed with a shampoo designed to clean while it kills fleas. Flea collars, “spot on” treatments, or oral medication can be used to kill and/or prevent flea infestations.
There are over two thousand species of fleas, most of which are found on specific species of mammals. Some can infest multiple species of mammals, which are usually the fleas you would find on a cat or dog.
There are three common species of Ticks in Northwest Florida. Use the pictures below to identify the various species.
All three ticks are brown before engorging (feeding) on blood.
Infections caused by tick bites are less common in Northwest Florida than in other parts of the country. Erlichiosis is a blood infection caused by tick bites that infects and kills white blood cells, and is primarily found in the Lone Star Tick Amblyomma Americanum. Click the link below for more information.
Lyme’s Disease is an infection of the joints caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi found in Black-Legged Ticks, also known as the Deer Tick. Click the link below for more information.
Ticks can appear different from other species or during different phases of their cycles. For more information on identifying different tick species, click the link below.
There are several methods of removing ticks and sterilizing the affected area. Click the link below for information on how to effectively remove a tick.
Flea and Tick Treatment and Prevention
If your pet is infested with fleas and/or ticks, or even if your pet only has a few, it is important to take care of it as soon as possible. Fleas can live several months without feeding, and a female must ingest blood before laying eggs. When a female flea feeds, however, she can lay up to 4,000 eggs in your dogs’ fur, which can quickly become a large problem.
The most efficient method of treating your pets is to take them to a Grooming Salon or a Veterinarian to have them bathed in a Flea Dip or Shampoo, while at the same time treating your home and car. There are many products designed for killing fleas and ticks in the home. Since fleas and flea eggs can live in upholstery fabric or plants, as well as many other places in your car or home, this method is probably the most effective in preventing recurrence of infestation when reintroducing your pets to your car or home.
It is possible to effectively treat your pet and home yourself if you have someone who can bathe your pet while someone else treats the home. Fleas instinctively try to escape hazardous areas, and by treating your pet and home by yourself, unless you are doing it simultaneously, the fleas can hide in your pets’ fur while you treat your home, or can hide in your home while you treat your pet.
Ultimately, it is up to the pet owner to determine the best course of action for their pets. The information provided here is merely the most effective methods we’ve learned in pet care.
For more information on effectively treating your pet or home for fleas, contact your local Grooming Salon or Veterinarian. Pest Control Services may also treat homes for Flea & Tick infestations, with certain guidelines to follow.
NOTE: IN ORDER TO AVOID IMMEDIATE RECURRENCE OF INFESTATION, IT IS IMPORTANT TO TREAT YOUR CAR AND HOME AT THE SAME TIME THAT YOU TREAT YOUR PET.
Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
Signs and Symptoms
This information will help you determine if your pet had fleas or ticks.
Fleas can sometimes be difficult to see, especially on dark-haired dogs and cats. There are other signs signifying the presence of fleas, though. First, if you haven’t already done so, run a fine-tooth comb through your pet’s hair. This will trap and remove some fleas and is the foremost effective way of finding fleas on your pet. If that doesn’t work, though, deeper inspection may be necessary. Another sign of fleas can be a gritty, sand-like dirt on your pet’s skin. It usually appears black and breaks apart easily. This is not dirt, however- it is your pets’ digested blood that has been passed through the fleas’ digestive tracts. If you were to get it wet, it would partially re-hydrate and appear red or brown in color as it rinses off your pet.
This digested blood, as well as the fleas themselves, can cause adverse skin conditions on your pet, such as viral or bacterial infections, which can severely damage the skin and impact the overall health of your pet. If your pet has fleas, immediate treatment is always the best course of action.
Ticks are easier to find than fleas, but most unsuspecting people may see a tick and pass it off as a new mole (since they usually start small and grow over time.)
While Ticks do not generally cause as many severe skin conditions as fleas, it is still possible. The medical impact of Ticks is more likely to be a transmitted disease, but that is still very rare. Tick infestations can cause Anemia, but Ticks in numbers high enough to cause Anemia are also very rare. Left untreated, however, Ticks can multiply almost as fast as Fleas, and eventually overrun a pet, home, or yard. Regarding Ticks, Immediate treatment is the best course of action.