At Bracebridge Animal Hospital, a progressive and preventative control program for parasites is recommended. Our guidelines are based on the recommendations of the Companion Animal Parasite Council and have been modified to address the common parasites we deal with in Muskoka. We know that many of the parasites of companion animals are transmissible to their human counterparts, particularly children. Regular preventative treatment is strongly recommended for all pets depending on their lifestyle and risk factors for exposure to various parasitic diseases. Pets that spend time outdoors, those that hunt or have contact with other pets or wildlife, and even those that eat things off the ground outside are generally at greater risk for contracting parasites.
All medications used for parasite control at our hospital are extremely safe and cost effective thus making parasite control a sensible preventative measure in the general healthcare program for your pet.
Common Signs with Flea Infestations:
No Signs: Many pets with fleas exhibit no obvious clinical signs. Pets may not be itchy and even on close inspection it may be very difficult to see fleas or flea dirt. Cats in particular are so effective at grooming themselves many pet owners will be unaware they have fleas. This is due to the fact that cats catch the fleas while grooming and swallow them thus the potential for tapeworm development within their intestines.
Noticeable Fleas: Sometimes you may be able to see live fleas on your pet. Fleas are most commonly found around the base of the tail, on your pet’s back and the groin and belly regions.
Flea Dirt: Flea “dirt” is actually the flea’s feces. This is digested blood from when they feed on a pet and it appears like small flecks of black pepper or sand. If you collect some of these flecks and place them on a moistened paper towel or tissue, they will dissolve slightly over several minutes and appear as a rust coloured stain.
Itchiness: Often pets with fleas will display some degree of itchiness although the amount of itching is variable and depends on how sensitive your pet is to flea bites and how many fleas are present. Most commonly pets are noticed to be chewing at their sides and legs and often scratching around their neck with their hind legs.
Sores and Scabs: Some pets are allergic to flea bites and will develop sores and small crusting scabs even after only one encounter with a flea. Pets with flea bite sensitivity often lick and chew at themselves so aggressively they will remove large areas of their hair coats and leave their skin very raw and irritated. This can lead to advanced bacterial infections of the skin that require medical attention.