What are they and why you should preventatively treat you animals against ticks and fleas.
Ticks are small spider-like acarids and fleas are insects, but these two tiny creatures have at least one thing in common - they are both parasites that feed on your pet's blood and can cause a lot of discomfort and more serious health problems.
Harmful diseases that the parasite TICK carries:
Tick bite fever or biliary is a severe and sometimes life threatening parasitic infection caused by commonly occurring ticks. The parasites that cause the infection are transmitted to the pet when the tick bites and takes a blood meal from the pet. The parasites move from the salivary glands of the tick into the circulatory system of the pet and infect the red blood cells. The parasites multiply in the red blood cells and cause then to burst; other infected red blood cells are also removed from the circulation by the spleen. All this leads so a severe anaemia.
Symptoms of the disease include: Lethargy, Fever (temp >39 'C ), Pale mucous membranes and sometimes yellow as well, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Red stained urine, Rapid heart beats, Rapid breathing rates, Nervous symptoms e.g. decreased mental alertness and seizures
Presenting your dog to the vet if any of these symptoms are noted in time, is very crucial. The vet will do a full clinical exam and a blood smear with a drop of blood obtained from the ear, from this a diagnosis of tick bite fever can be made. The vet will then determine the blood count of the patient by taking a small blood sample from the vein in the leg. From this the vet will make a decision about what treatments can be given to help the patient. Treatments are usually aimed at killing the blood parasites as well as maintaining adequate amounts of circulating blood cells sometimes through doing procedure such as blood transfusions.
DID YOU KNOW:
- A female tick can lay up to 3,000 eggs.
- Except for eggs, ticks need a blood meal to progress to the next stage of their life cycle.
- Some ticks can live for more than a year without a meal.
- In very rare cases, toxins secreted by ticks can cause pet paralysis.
Problems FLEAS can cause:
The best way to control flea problems is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Fortunately, developments in veterinary parasite control in recent years have made the twofold goal of eliminating fleas on pets and preventing further infestations much easier to achieve.
Flea bites may go unnoticed on some pets, cause slight irritation in others and produce extensive itching, red lesions, hair loss and even ulcers in those animals with flea allergy dermatitis, which is the result of extreme sensitivity to flea saliva. Severe flea infestations can cause anaemia, especially in puppies. Fleas can also transmit several diseases, under which worms, specifically tapeworm can cause a lot of problems.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Worldwide, there are about 3,000 different types of fleas, but the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common to be found on dogs and cats.
- Adult fleas can jump 600 times an hour. Each jump, in terms of the flea’s size, is the equivalent of a person clearing a 50-storey building.
- The record jump for a flea (usually 2-8 mm long) is 33 cm.
- In just 30 days, 25 adult female fleas can multiply to 250,000 fleas
Prevention is always better than cure, make sure that your pet remains tick and flea free. Available for both dogs and cats, new insecticides and insect growth regulators in easy-to-use topical or oral forms not only eliminate any existing fleas, but also work long-term to prevent future infestations. Please see our section on tick and flea treatments for more advise on what products to use and what is availible on the market.
There is now also a new vaccination available against the parasites which helps to give some form of protection and limiting the severity of the above complications. Should you be worried about your pets at any time please make sure that you present your pet to your vet for a full check-up.
See what products are availible on the market: click here