Fleas and ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. Unfortunately these parasites can spread disease and illness. Fleas can cause pruritus, allergy dermatitis, and tapeworms. Ticks can cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Babesia canis, among others. The most important to dog lovers is Ehrlichiosis, also known as Tick-Fever which is spread by the tick we often find most is Arizona called the Brown Dog Tick.
Dogs and Cats generally get ticks because they’re out in that environment, walking through the woods or high grass, and these ticks undergo what’s called questing, where they crawl up on these low shrubs or grass, generally 18 to 24 inches off the ground and they basically hang out. And when the pets walks by or we walk by and brush up against these ticks they dislodge and get onto us. Ticks don’t climb up into trees. That’s an old myth. They just lie in wait for us. It’s sort of an ambush strategy. They can live well over a year without feeding.
Dogs and cats often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. The strong back legs of this insect enable it to jump from host to host or from the environment onto the host. (Fleas do not have wings, so they cannot fly!) The flea’s bite can cause itching for the host but for a sensitive or flea-allergic animal, this itching can be quite severe and leads to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. These small dark brown insects prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees and humidity levels of 75-85 percent so for some areas of the country they are more than just a “summer” problem.
How to Prevent It?
There are different methods of prevention such as topical and oral medications. Prevention is our number one defense against this adversary. Effective preventatives, safe and easy to use, are available now to keep your pet flea and tick free.
Catalina Animal Hospital carries a few products that we highly recommend and find them to be very safe for your cat or dog. Also, we advise you to treat inside and outside your house as well. Clearing your yard of tall grass, debris, and piles of wood can also help prevent these pests.