Fleas and ticks are out for blood! These pesky parasites live on an animal’s skin and can cause a wide range of skin diseases. They may even cause systemic (whole-body) illnesses by transmitting intestinal worms, protozoa, and bacteria to your pet’s vital organs, leading to chronic to acute disease that may also result in fatality of your beloved furry family member.
But fortunately, flea and tick problems can be treated—and future outbreaks can be prevented—with the proper measures 😊
First, it is useful to understand how fleas and ticks make their way into the outdoor environment, your home, and onto your pet.
Fleas are wingless insects that go through a complete metamorphosis. Once a flea finds a home on a dog, it makes itself comfortable, feeds, and then lays up to several hundred eggs over the course of a few days. And that is one lone flea—ten adult females can produce nearly 10,000 flea eggs in just 30 days!
Egg larvae can be found in the grass and soil; from there, they make their way indoors on your dog, falling off onto carpet and furniture. The eggs then lie dormant for weeks before they emerge as adults. The flea life cycle is long, with the average life span of an adult flea being 113 days.
Here are some additional flea facts every pet owner should know:
- A female flea can lay 40 to 50 eggs per day.
- Fleas thrive in temperatures of 65° to 80°F and prefer humidity levels of 75% to 85%.
- Fleas live an average 113 days on the host animal.
- Female fleas can consume 15 times their body weight in blood daily.
Ticks are spider-like parasites that hide in grassy/forested areas and leap onto dogs or cats as they walk by. A tick will bury its head beneath your pet’s skin, often around the ears and neck, where it feeds off blood. Adult ticks can remain dormant for months and then lay thousands of eggs.
Skin Issues Fleas and Ticks cause
Flea and Tick bites can irritate even the healthiest pets, and those with sensitive skin may develop agonizing allergic reactions to flea and tick bites. When a dog or cat scratches and licks at one spot too much, the area can become inflamed and infected, resulting in what’s called a “hot spot.” Allergic reactions to flea and tick bites can result in rashes, hair loss, skin infections, and chronic skin irritation.
Diseases caused by Fleas and Ticks
Ticks can transmit many diseases to your pet through their bites, and a flea infestation can be detrimental to your pet’s health.
Besides the irritation, various tick species transmit several devastating diseases that affect both dogs and people, including tick fever.
Some dogs are even allergic to tick saliva, which may compound the danger to your pet’s health.
Here are some of the most common problems that can result from flea and tick bites on dogs and cats:
- Canine ehrlichiosis, can occur all year round. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
- Canine Babesia, infections in domestic dogs
Knowing how to remove a tick from a cat or dog is important for pet owners to learn.
Overall, the best course of action is to treat your pet and the environment before an infestation takes hold in the first place.
Because of their resilience, the most effective approach to a flea or tick problem is to treat your pet, your home, focus on prevention before they reoccur. Overall, the best course of action is to treat your pet and the environment before an infestation takes hold in the first place.
- Treat your Pet
- If you find live ticks or fleas on your dog’s body, it is important that these be killed using a medicated shampoo or spray that must be used only on the prescription of your vet.
- Adequate care must be taken for both the pet and owner during the application and use of these.
- Injecting a medication in the dog to kill the ticks outside on the body would not be a first preference. Using Ridd or Butox on the dog for ticks and fleas would also not be my first option.
- Medicated shampoos containing 1% Propoxur or Cypermethrin 1% are my preference to kill live ticks on the dogs body.
- Treat your Home
- To prevent fleas and ticks from plaguing your pet, you must also treat their (and your) environment at the same time to kill fleas and attack the eggs and larvae wherever they are hiding in the cracks and crevices of the walls and flooring
- Wash your pet’s bedding
Before treating the inside of your home, first wash your pet’s bedding.
- Vacuum your home thoroughly
Thoroughly vacuum your home with a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner. Vacuum carpets, floors, and all upholstery. A good vacuum can remove one-quarter of the flea larvae and over half of the flea eggs. After cleaning, take the vacuum outside, remove the bag, and discard it. It may take several days’ vacuuming to remove all the flea eggs.
- Pest Control is a must
After you’ve done this, you may apply a chemical pest control using Deltamethrin 1.25% in the appropriate dilution on the floor and/or walls which will kill fleas, flea larvae, and ticks on a variety of surfaces. Take extreme care and protect and cover your face, hands and arms while using it. Also ensure that your pet is not kept in the same room where you have applied it, while it’s still wet. A good method is to apply this in one room at a time. Getting a professional pest control done can also be an option but they must ensure and assure you that after the job is completed the home is safe for your pet to be in.
Pets can lick floors or walls or eat any paste that is applied by the agency. Also, since pets sit or sleep on the floor the pesticide can get transferred on their body and this too is a huge potential for serious complications in the pet’s health.
- Prevention is always better than cure
To keep the nasty crawlies far away from your pet is the best and safest strategy to ensure you win the war with the pests. Always remember that since we live in tropical climate zone, ticks and fleas exist and thrive in this climate all year round.
Thus, pet parents must stay on guard for them constantly. Staying one step ahead and using preventive measures to repel them from your pet must be taken.
We have the prefect preventive care for you at Captain Zack, IRradicate that contains the bio-active IR3535, that repels ticks and is very safe for you and your pet. The IRradicate Oil Spray is the master remedy and is a scientifically researched, daily use shield against ticks and ectoparasites.
With this 3-step strategy score a Hattrick over these deadly creepy-crawlies!
Dr. Jamshyd K. Cooper
Small Animal Veterinarian
Head Veterinarian, Captain Zack