Flea & Tick Control

Fleas

Fleas are most often a problem during the warmer months, but as we keep our homes nice and cosy throughout winter in Tasmania, we can see fleas all year round.

Image result for fleas and ticksOnly a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your dog. The fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it is important to not only treat your dog directly for fleas but to also decontaminate the environment as well.  Wash your dogs’ bedding and coats using the hottest cycle on your washing machine, and regularly vacuum/clean carpets and ‘fur’niture. We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos as a stand alone solution as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.

Fleas will tend to jump onto your dog only to feed and then jump off again. Dogs can have a reaction to flea saliva, resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). Treatment of FAD can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.

Some signs that your dog may have fleas include:

  • Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump
  • You may be able to see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region), but they are small and quick so they are easy to miss!
  • It can be difficult to find the actual fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea ‘dirt’ (droppings).  Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your dogs’ fur and gently rub the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball shows black specks surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your dog has fleas.

Warning: Some brands of flea & tick treatments for dogs (often non-veterinary) are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.

The Dog Clinic stocks a range of parasite prevention products. Please call us to discuss the best flea & tick prevention for your dog.

Image result for bravectoImage result for fleas and ticksImage result for simparica

Ticks

The main tick of concern for dog owners is the Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) as it can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. Whilst Paralysis Ticks occur naturally only in certain geographic areas, (mainly along the coastal eastern seaboard of mainland Australia), they can attach to dogs who visit these areas, particularly if they are allowed to run through scrub. Ticks may also hitch a ride back with you or a neighbour in cars, rugs, towels or plants. More recently there have been reports of dogs displaying symptoms similar to those produced by (Ixodes holocyclus) in Tasmania also.

If you notice a tick on a dog that is not displaying signs of tick paralysis, remove the tick straight away. To do this, grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your dogs’ skin and give a quick sideways pull. It is better not to try and kill the tick first as the dying tick may inject more of its’ potent toxin into the dog. If you are not confident removing the tick please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed.

Once the tick is removed, your dog should be kept cool and quiet whilst being closely monitored for 24 hours.

Signs of Tick Paralysis:

  • Weakness/lethargy/staggering gait or paralysis
  • Vomiting/dry retching/coughing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Altered bark
  • Loss of appetite
  • If you notice any of the above signs of tick paralysis, please seek immediate veterinary attention as this is a genuine veterinary emergency. If your dog is showing any of the above signs, do not offer food or water as these may be accidentally inhaled in tick-affected dogs.

Treatment of tick paralysis includes searching for and removing all ticks. This may include clipping the dog completely and/or the use of medication to kill remaining ticks. Tick antiserum is administered to counteract the toxin and supportive care is provided during recovery. This can be costly in comparison to what it would cost to use tick prevention initially.

However, no tick prevention is 100% effective and should always be used in combination with daily searches of your dog. Searching your dog shouldn’t cease once you return from tick-affected regions but should continue for at least 7 days after returning home. Use your fingers to feel over the entire body, especially under the collar, on the face and around the front of your dog. Don’t forget to check carefully between the toes, under the lips and in the ears.

We are more than happy to show you how to do a thorough tick search, please call us to discuss.

Warning: Some brands of flea & tick treatments for dogs (often non-veterinary) are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.

 

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