Vet Blog

Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention

April 20, 2018

Just as humans can contract viruses and infections, so too can your pets.

There are many different health problems facing the four-legged members of your family, and as their human, it is your responsibility to do everything that you can to keep them safe from harm. While some afflictions can be mild, and your pet will make a full recovery, others are much more serious and could leave your pet with permanent damage to her health or worse.

One of the most important considerations facing responsible and compassionate owners is sorting out preventive care for their pet. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that fortunately, it is now possible to protect against more animal illnesses than ever before.

Why is preventive care for pets so important?

As a loving pet parent, we know that if you could stop your pet from being in discomfort or even pain, then you would want to. This is where preventive treatment comes in. The right preventive medication can stop your pet from contracting serious health problems or the parasites that can lead to them, such as fleas and ticks. In the case of heartworms, preventative drugs can kill off the larval heartworms that are deposited into your pet, stopping them from becoming adults (which is when they put the health of your animal at risk).

Not only does preventive care help keep your animal healthy and feeling fine, but it's also a good investment in her health. Treating an animal with a parasitic infection is a very lengthy and costly experience, which is entirely avoidable if you stick to a robust schedule of preventive care.

Can preventive medications be combined?

The idea of pumping your pet full of lots of different medications is understandably concerning, even if you know that it is for the long-term health of your pet.

Fortunately, medication manufacturers have now found ways of combining various preventive drugs into one, simple treatment, cutting back on the number of different solutions you need to give your pet.

Parasite prevention

Parasites are just one type of health problem affecting your pet, but there are many different types of them, each presenting their own challenges. Fleas, ticks and heartworms are just some of the most common parasites that you should ensure that your beloved furbaby is fully protected from.

About fleas

Fleas are arguably the most common parasite affecting animals, and if you end up with an infestation in your home, the humans in your property could be bitten too. Fleas live on your pet's skin and feed on her blood. While they cannot fly, they can jump, and they use this mechanism to jump from host to host. Their saliva causes allergic reactions in both pets and humans, and they can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets. Infestations are notoriously difficult to get rid of as fleas can lurk in skirting, carpets, curtains and even gaps in your floorboards!

About ticks

Ticks are another common parasite affecting animals, especially if you live in areas where there is lots of tall grass or woodland for your pet to explore. They do not jump or fly, but instead drop onto your pet where they will feed on her blood. They are well known for their ability to spread disease, particularly Lyme Disease, which can cause your pet to become very unwell. Lyme disease can also affect adults and children.

About heartworms

Heartworms are also parasites, but rather than living on your pet's skin, they actually live inside her, in her heart and lungs. They are passed through a third party - in this case, an infected mosquito. The mosquito contains heartworm larvae that it passes into your pet when it bites her. These larvae then migrate to her heart and lungs so that they can mature into adult worms. The worms then reproduce, congesting the blood vessels in the lungs and heart until permanent damage is done to the health of your pet. If untreated, an animal with heartworms will almost certainly die. Heartworms predominantly affect dogs, but cats and ferrets can also be at risk.

Don't risk leaving your pet unprotected

If you are concerned about pet parasites and would like more information, our Charlotte Animal Hospital knowledgeable and experienced team are on hand to help. We are as committed to your pet's health and happiness as you are and will work diligently with you to ensure that your four-legged family member is safe and protected. Please call our Charlotte vet office to arrange an appointment.