Effective Ways To Control Flea and Tick For Dogs



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every year flea and tick problems with
pets rank among the highest issues in
veterinary hospitals both fleas and
ticks are considered parasites that feed
on the blood of their hosts and transmit
a number of serious diseases a parasite
is any organism that lives on or in an
organism of another species from the
body of which it obtains nutriment
without contributing to the well-being
of that organism parasites can be
grouped in two categories internal
parasites and external parasites
internal parasites generally live within
the host animal one of the most commonly
thought of internal parasites would be
intestinal worms external parasites live
and feed outside of the host or in this
case the pet it's the job of the animal
care professional to understand these
most common parasites learn how they are
diagnosed and help to rid the host
animal of them whenever possible as an
animal care professional it is also your
job to educate your clients on the risks
of these parasites and what they can do
at home to prevent their infestation in
this video overview we will discuss two
of the most common external parasites
presented in veterinary hospitals fleas
and ticks let's begin by discussing some
of the many issues associated with fleas
fleas are small dark colored agile
insects with tube-like mouth parts
adapted to feeding on the blood of their
hosts this combined with their very
quick reproductive cycle make them a
difficult challenge to eliminate from
the pet and the environment in order to
thoroughly understand how to treat and
prevent their infestations from
occurring it's important to first
understand the life cycle of the flea
the flea life cycle begins with the
adult female flea acquiring a blood meal
from the pet and laying her eggs usually
on the skin or hair of the pet adult
fleas must feed on blood before they
become capable of
reduction the flea can consume as much
as 15 times its weight in blood each day
female fleas are capable of laying up to
40 to 50 eggs per day these eggs will
then fall off the pet onto the carpet
sofa yard or other locations the pet
visits frequently these eggs are very
small white spheres that will hatch into
larvae in two to 14 days depending on
the conditions flea larvae emerges from
the eggs to feed on any available
organic material including feces of
other fleas known as flea dirt flea
larvae tends to avoid light and keep to
dark places such as cracks crevices and
bedding if adequate supply of food is
available larvae will complete their
development in five to ten days and spin
a silk like cocoon in which they molt to
the pupa stage the final transformation
to the adult flea occurs within the
cocoon and the newly formed adult flea
emerges when properly stimulated by heat
carbon dioxide and other environmental
stimuli which might indicate an
available food sources in the area the
entire cycle from egg to adult can take
as little as two weeks or as long as six
months depending on environmental
conditions the adult flea is probably
the only stage of the fleas life cycle
you're likely to observe the other
stages are generally very difficult to
see without magnification even spotting
the adult flea requires a close and
thorough examination of the skin there
are certain locations on the pet where
fleas more commonly congregate focusing
your search in these locations increases
your chances that fleas will be found
the key locations on most dogs and cats
would be the tail area head and neck and
finally the belly these areas should
always be evaluated when assessing the
pet for the presence of fleas the feces
of adult fleas or flea dirt as it is
referred to is often a first clue that
fleas are present on the pet these
reddish-brown fee
these often possess a characteristic
curled appearance or may occur as dirt
like specks passing a flea comb or
fine-tooth comb through the hair coat
will often trap fleas and flea dirt this
is probably the simplest method to
evaluate for fleas
the reason the cycle is important for
you to know is that developing an
effective flea control program involves
more than just killing the adult fleas
it also involves interrupting their
reproductive cycle at various levels to
alleviate future generations of fleas we
will discuss key steps in effective flea
control in a subsequent section of this
program
why do fleas cause such a problem for
dogs and cats like many other parasitic
insects fleas tend to leave behind small
quantities of saliva during the feeding
process the saliva is often very
irritating to the host animal and
creates both a local and systemic
allergic reaction this allergic reaction
can leave a sensitive dog or cat feeling
miserably itchy this itch if not
controlled may cause the dog or cat to
chew or scratch at large portions of
their hair coat when a pet shows these
reactions to flea bites they are
categorized with a flea allergy fleas
pose a second hazard and that they can
substantially deplete the blood supply
on a small pet leading to a
life-threatening anemia this is
especially true of very young kittens
and puppies another hazard is that fleas
commonly spread a parasite called the
tapeworm within the tiny body of some
fleas exists the developing stages of
the double pore tapeworm when a dog or
cat bites at areas on their body with
flea infestations they occasionally end
up ingesting several fleas once inside
the pets digestive system the tapeworm
develops into a long segmented worm
segments of this worm are then often
passed out of the rectum and may be
recognized around the anus or on the
stool they may appear resembling grains
of rice or sesame seeds they too can be
cleared from the pet with proper
treatment owners whose
let's have tapeworms may not be aware
that their pet has or has had fleas in
the recent past one of the reasons for
this is that those pets that are
meticulous in their grooming are not as
likely to have fleas noticeable on their
coat however they are more likely to
have ingested fleas during the grooming
process like fleas ticks are blood
sucking parasites they attach themselves
to their hosts and remain attached for
an extended period of time
often several days during this time the
tick will become engorged with blood
this extended feeding period makes the
tick an ideal carrier for various
blood-borne diseases common diseases
transmitted by ticks include Rocky
Mountain spotted fever Lyme disease and
ehrlichiosis only a small percentage of
ticks carry these disease-causing
organisms these diseases when present
occur more commonly in certain areas of
the country it is important for you to
identify the specific tick transmitted
diseases that are common in your area it
is also important to recognize that some
of the disease's ticks carry can also be
spread to humans a tick infested
environment not only puts pets at risk
but also their owners removing a tick
from an animal should be done with care
not to squeeze the body of the tick
while pulling it off careful handling
reduces the chances of infusing
infectious debris and organisms into the
animal from the tick grasping near the
head of the tick where it has attached
itself to the animal and creating gentle
pressure will often be sufficient to
initiate its release gently pulling the
tick straight out away from the skin is
usually adequate once the tick has
released clean the area thoroughly with
alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to help
reduce the chances of infection dispose
the tick in a small jar of alcohol and
save it if possible
this will help for identification of the
tick to determine if infection has
occurred you may sometimes
two ticks attached to the skin and hair
these are mating ticks the female ticks
will become quite engorged with eggs and
will often obscure the presence of the
male ticks as many as 8,000 eggs are
contained in some engorged ticks the
female tick will detach herself from the
dog or cat and return to her environment
to lay her eggs
most ticks infecting dogs and cats will
need three hosts to complete their
development upon hatching the young sea
ticks will search out a source such as a
rodent for their first meal the seed
ticks will feed on this first host for a
few days and then drop off to molt to
the nymph in the environment after
several weeks or months the nymph will
often climb to the tops of the grass or
weeds and wait for a passing animal once
they have clinched on a passing animal
they quickly set out to get a blood meal
the nymph will feed for a few days or a
week and then drop off to molt to the
adult stage the adult stage will then
seek out a host on which to feed because
of the large number of eggs they lay in
their environment it becomes extremely
important to control ticks not only on
the pet but also in the environment in
subsequent sections of this program we
will discuss simple steps in helping to
treat and prevent ticks on both the pet
and in the environment

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