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Lyme Disease Prevention Month

     April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month, so there’s no better time to discuss the importance of flea and tick prevention. With Spring having now “sprung,” and warm weather either here or right around the corner, these pests will become more and more prevalent. Prevention is the key in setting your pets up for success.

In order to fully understand the importance, let’s first discuss how these “vampires” behave:

     Fleas are tiny, bloodsucking parasites that irritate your pets and can lead to potentially serious issues. Adult fleas live on animals, where they digest blood and lay eggs. One flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs, which hatch within 10 days and spread as the animal scratches, shakes, or lies down.

     Disease can spread when your pet scratches and flea fecal matter gets into an open wound. The chances are compounded as the fleas continue to reproduce and spread throughout your home and yard. It is important to get on top of treatment as soon as possible when an infestation occurs, and prevention is key thereafter.

     Ticks behave very similarly. Like fleas, ticks attach themselves to your pets and feed on their blood. Ticks are capable of consuming enough of your pet’s blood to cause anemia, however rare the occurrence. Ticks can also spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Lyme disease is known to cause lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, and other painful, worrisome conditions. Rocky Mountain Spotted fever can cause poor appetite, muscle or joint pain, fever, coughing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the face or legs, or depression.

     Flea and tick preventatives kill fleas and ticks that come into contact with your pet. They come in various forms - collars, topicals, and pills are the most common flea and tick preventative products. There are also shampoos and prescription medications that can provide the prevention and treatment that your pet needs.

     No matter which treatment or combination of treatments you choose to go with, it is important to act now rather than later. Nobody wants to watch their best friend suffer from such painful and preventable diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.


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