There’s a lot of talk in the world about diseases and viruses being spread by mosquitos and other insects, and one of those concerns is actually right here, in Canada, but this time it’s our four-legged friends who are at risk. No flea or tick bite is right for these beloved friends.
When I heard about the ‘No Bite Is Right’ campaign to bring awareness to pet owners about flea and tick prevention I knew this was something I felt compelled to share. This may applies to me twofold, because I have two fur babies – a beautiful black cat and a white English Lab named Buttons and Piper respectively. They kind of look like an Oreo cookie when they play! So spreading the word about different kinds of methods to prevent dogs and cats from suffering through flea and tick bites and the possible side effects of those bites is important because not only are the bites uncomfortable for the pets, the fleas and ticks carry possible life threatening diseases.
Did you know that ticks can cause many diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Bartonellosis, to name a few? Lyme disease has been actually declared endemic in southern parts of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and symptoms include pain, fatigue, kidney failure and even death. Researchers also estimate that if you draw a line marking tick territory across Canada, that line moves 45 km farther north every year. This is something we need to get moving on in order to help stop the population explosion! (Buttons and Piper are here with me as I write begging me to spread the word to other pet owners so their friends will be ok.)
Did you know that fleas can live up to 100 days and can lay up to 50 eggs a day and a single flea could bite up to 400 times per day? Dogs can be allergic to flea saliva and can result in bald spots from scratching and chewing their fur. As well, fleas don’t just cause itching, discomfort and open sores from flea allergy dermatitis, they can also be a source of tapeworms, and cause anemia and household infestations. AAGH!
What I’ve learned from this educational initiative is there are two main types of prevention; systemic and non-systemic. Systemic products (taken orally, usually as a chewable treat) actually require the flea or tick to bite the cat or dog. With systemic products, the pest has to bite because medication is running through the pet’s bloodstream. The pest has to keep feeding until it has ingested enough medication to be killed. This leaves your pet vulnerable since diseases are transmitted through the bite. However, with non-systemic products, when the pest lands on the pet, it becomes uncoordinated, allowing time for the medication to kill the flea or tick. These products greatly reduce the ability of fleas and ticks to bite, attach and feed from your pet, thereby reducing the chance of disease transmission.
The name of the game is to prevent the bite from happening, so choosing a non-systemic prevention method will keep those pesky bugs from starting a chain reaction that could end in pain and heartbreak for you and your pet.
Visiting your vet to discuss the options this spring is definitely something that should be on your calendar, and learning about what is the best for your fur babies and how to keep them safe and healthy top of the list.