Category Archives: Parasites

Pesky Parasites in Frederick, MD

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!

Fleas:flea

  • 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.

Ticks:tick

  • 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!

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Pesky Parasite Prevention in Frederick, MD

Monthly prevention for fleas and ticks is important to avoid diseases transmitted by these pesky little bugs. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends two products: Frontline and NexGard. frontline for dogs

 

Frontline is a topical medication that stays within the oil glands of the skin and does not get absorbed into the body. For this reason, we do not see as many adverse reactions to it. Frontline kills adult fleas, eggs, larvae, and all stages of ticks.

 

nexgard

 

If a topical medication makes you nervous, we also have NexGard available. NexGard is a beef-flavored chew given orally to dogs once per month. NexGard kills adult fleas (before they are able to lay eggs) and ticks. In a study, NexGard killed more than 99% of fleas within 8 hours of treatment and remains effective for a full month.

 

Year round prevention is recommended. It is difficult to know when the first flea or tick will emerge after winter and, if they do emerge early, it is best to have a preventative on board. Additionally, some tick species can survive even the harshest of winters and will emerge when temperatures are still as cold as 40-degrees. If you have any questions regarding flea and tick prevention, please call your veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, Maryland.

 

Using Interceptor during the winter months


With temperatures in the mid-20 for the few weeks, it should be ok to stop my dogs’ heartworm prevention, right? NO!

Why is Interceptor recommended for use all year round for my dog?

Heartworms are a blood parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. From the time an infected mosquito bites your dog to the time your dog will test positive for heartworm disease is 6-7 months. Heartworms are transmitted when a mosquito bites an infected dog, or natural host like coyote, acquires the baby heartworms called microfilaria and then bites another dog, giving the second dog the baby heartworms while taking a blood meal. The baby worms mature in the blood stream, travel through the lungs to the heart and fill it up like a bowl of spaghetti. Yuck, right?

There is a small risk, depending on the temperature, that a mosquito survived outside and can bite your dog. Mosquito’s can allow sneak inside and bite our pets. Heartworm disease is fatal if untreated and expensive, painful, and dangerous to treat. Keeping your pet on heartworm prevention like Interceptor year-round guarantees that your pet will not become infected with adult heartworms and have to go through lengthy and painful treatment.

If you stop Interceptor when it cold, how do you know when to start again? What if you stop and it warms back up? It’s just safer to give your dog Interceptor year-round instead of trying to guess when the mosquitoes are active.

Interceptor also prevents 3 common intestinal parasites- roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. The eggs of these parasites can be dominant in the soil for long periods of time and then active again when your pet ingests them (licking their feet after walking in the dog park, puppies that constantly try to eat anything they find). Interceptor will prevent the eggs from forming into adult parasites in your dog’s GI tract, causing nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Two of those parasites, roundworms and hookworms are zoonotic, meaning they can be spread from pets to people, usually children and adults or elderly with compromised immune systems.

For more information and statistics on heartworm and parasite infection visit:
http://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/slide.html
http://www.interceptor.novartis.us/veterinarian/vet-parasites.html
http://www.interceptor.novartis.us/veterinarian/vet-zoonosis.html

Annual Intestinal Parasite Checks


Ever wonder why your veterinarian recommends that you check a fecal sample on your strictly indoor cat? While it is safe to say that your indoor cat is much less likely to be effected by intestinal parasites than a cat or dog that spends time outdoors, your indoor cat is still susceptible to intestinal parasites that can be detrimental to their health. Parasitologists recommend that routine annual fecal checks are a part of every indoor cats yearly check up. Cats are natural hunters and without available prey indoors they sometimes turn to bugs for entertainment and will even ingest them. The picture shows a household cricket that after being immersed in water had several roundworms expel from its abdomen. If ingested by a cat or dog these parasites could ultimately have an adverse effect on that pet.