Flea and Tick Prevention

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Fleas and ticks are more than just a nuisance for pet owners; they are a health risk for pets.  Flea and tick infestations are two of the most common issues that pet owners deal with, and they can lead to a variety of diseases and health issues for your pet.  They can be treated using a variety of products, the most common of which are oral and topical treatments.  Understanding the life cycles of fleas and ticks, how they can effect your pet, and the types of flea and tick prevention available, will allow you to provide your pet with the best protection possible.
Did you know that the adult fleas you see on your pet only represent 5% of the total flea population?  A common misconception among pet owners is that if fleas can’t be seen on their pet, they don’t have a flea problem.  In reality, flea eggs and larvae often go undetected by pet owners.  Female fleas can lay as many as 40 eggs per day, (or a total of 2,000 eggs in her lifetime), on an untreated pet.  Upon reaching adulthood, these fleas can live on your pet for up to three months.  The tick life cycle is similar to that of the flea life cycle; however, female ticks can lay anywhere from 4,000 to 6,500 eggs at a time.  Additionally, ticks may take as many as one to two years to complete their full life cycle.
Flea and tick infestations can lead to a variety of health issues and diseases for your pet.  The most common symptoms of a flea or tick infestation are scratching, biting, and gnawing at the skin.  An untreated flea problem can lead to flea allergy dermatitis, skin infections, hot spots, or anemia.  Additionally, your pet may develop tapeworms if fleas are ingested.  Ticks, on the other hand, can cause serious diseases such as ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Lyme Disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  These diseases may cause symptoms such as lack of energy, decreased appetite, swollen joints, or fever, among others.
Fortunately, many types of flea and tick prevention are available.  Topical medications such as fipronil and methoprene (Frontline Plus®), and fipronil with methoprene and amitraz (Certifect®), are proven effective and highly recommended by veterinarians.  Oral medications are also used to help control fleas and ticks such as selamectin (Revolution®).  One of the most important steps in prevention is consistent reapplication.  Reapplying every month, year-round is necessary to keep parasites off of your pet.  Many pet owners make the mistake of only using flea and tick prevention when parasites are visibly present.  Doing so allows these parasites to build up a tolerance to preventative products, making it extremely hard to get rid of them in the future.  Regularly applying flea and tick prevention not only allows pets and their owners to maintain a comfortable living environment; it keeps pets healthy and safe from a variety of diseases and health issues.
Untreated flea and tick infestations can lead to many types of health problems and diseases, not to mention that these parasites are a nuisance to pets and their owners.  As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep your pet healthy and parasite free. The best way to do so is by regularly administering flea and tick prevention to your pet.  Do your pet a favor and start a flea and tick prevention plan today!