With the return of warm weather, everyone wants to spend more time outdoors—including our pets. Like people, pets are also at risk for health complications that can arise from tick and flea bites. We want to remind pet owners that protecting pets from ticks and fleas is a necessity.
Lyme disease is the one of the more well known diseases spread by ticks. This disease is spread mainly by blacklegged deer ticks. However, there are other diseases that can be spread by ticks. For instance, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is transmitted by the American dog tick, and the Powassan virus is spread by blacklegged deer ticks.
Although you can find ticks across the country, they are especially popular in the southeast region, which is why we caution pet owners.
Lyme disease can cause fever, decreased appetite, painful joints, limping and lethargy in your pet. In severe cases, kidney disease can also occur. American dog ticks are larger than blacklegged deer ticks and can cause tick paralysis when a female dog tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord. Tick paralysis can lead to muscle weakness, loss of coordination and, in some cases, death from respiratory failure.
Fleas can also cause serious health problems. The itchy red bumps left by fleas can lead to excessive scratching, anemia, dermatitis and tapeworms. Fleas can also become a problem when pets bring them inside the home. Once there, they can reproduce in bedding, carpets or furniture.
Tick Prevention Tips
- Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
- Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where fleas and ticks often hide.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.
- If you suspect a pest problem, contact a licensed pest professional immediately