It is that time of year again- we are all looking forward for some warm days and sunny skies! However with reward sometimes comes risk, and fleas and ticks pose a threat to our animals particularly during the warmer months, so it is time to continue our battle against the fleas and ticks, or ecto-parasites, which threaten the health of our beloved pets! In order to best protect your pets it is helpful to know what you are protecting them from. Below outlines the common flea and tick species present in Frederick, MD.
While fleas have names that suggest they may prefer a specific species of animal, it is important to remember that these parasites are not host specific- meaning they are not picky about what they feed on!
- Ctenocephalides felis– the cat flea
- Ctenocephalides canis– the dog flea
While there are close to 2500 different species of fleas, above are the fleas commonly found in Frederick, MD, but close to 90% of dogs and cats are infested with the cat flea. Female fleas can lay between 40-50 eggs in a day that fall of your beloved pet into their bedding, furniture, and the surrounding house. Fleas suck the blood from our pets and cause anemia in severe cases. If ingested, they can infect your pet with an intestinal parasite known as the tapeworm. When a flea bites a host, it injects a protein with an anticoagulant into the animal. Some animals are intensely allergic to flea saliva and will cause them to be severely itchy, and can happen with as few as 6 fleas.
- Dermacentor variabilis- the American dog tick
- Rhipicephalus sanguineus- the brown dog tick/ the kennel tick
- Ixodes scapularis- the deer tick/ the blacklegged tick
- Amblyomma americanum- the lone star tick
There are over 800 different tick species, but above are the four most commonly found in Frederick, MD. Ticks are particularly dangerous to our four legged friends due to all the different diseases that they can transmit to them: lyme disease, ehrlichia, anaplasmosis, rocky mountain spotted fever, among others. Tick-borne diseases can skin irritation, fever, lethargy, stiff and painful joints, and decreased appetite to name a few.
If you have found fleas or ticks on your beloved pet(s), a visit to your favorite veterinarian here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital will help you determine the best treatment and course of action. It is much easier to prevent these unwanted hitchhikers then it is to treat your animals for any of the diseases or the blood loss that can be caused by these ecto-parasites. Talk with your veterinarian here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD to determine what the best prevention program is to keep your fur babies safe and protected. Remember to keep your preventatives going not only during our peak flea and tick season, but throughout the year as well- those mild winter days can have the flea and tick population rebound in less time than you would think! We look forward to seeing you soon!