Flea & Tick Prevention
The Dangers of Fleas and Ticks for Your Pets
Of all the pesky nuisances out there your pet might face, fleas and ticks are two of the most troublesome. For pets, fleas and ticks pose a variety of potential health issues, including:
- Skin irritation
- Rashes and skin infections
- Transmission of disease and illness
- Lyme Disease
Massapequa Hospital For Animals primarily focuses on prevention.
Prevention is important because it stops a serious problem before it starts. If you are starting to notice signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks that indicate that you are already dealing with an infestation. It is best to not reach that stage. With good education and the right prevention products, you can easily avoid flea and tick infestations.
A proactive approach to flea and tick prevention starts with a discussion about various factors that play a role in your pet's potential exposure to fleas and ticks. For example, if your cats are indoor/outdoor is a factor, as well as whether they are exposed to other animals that go outside (including pets of friends or family that may come over for a visit).
Be proactive in protecting your pet from disease.
You can prevent the serious complications of tick-borne disease or illness by controlling the tick exposure for your dog and by vaccination against Lyme disease.
To help prevent Lyme Disease, we use Vanguard crLyme vaccine. Two doses administered 3 weeks apart with a single annual booster are recommended for maximum protection. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines yet for the other tick-borne diseases, hence prevention is most important.
To summarize, we are greatly concerned with tick-borne illnesses. We can test for the most common diseases with a simple in-office blood test and treat for the illnesses if diagnosed. However we stress preventing these diseases by tick control with either an oral or topical product and by vaccinating specifically for Lyme disease.
Over the past few years, the tick situation on Long Island has become more significant and serious. Ticks are responsible for carrying a number of different diseases of importance to both human health and pet health. We used to think that tick-borne disease was only a regional problem on the East End and on Fire Island. We also were not concerned with a “backyard Massapequa area” dog being exposed to ticks. These are no longer accurate perceptions. Ticks can be brought into your backyard by any animal, including birds. Depending upon where you live, squirrels, mice, rabbits, raccoons, deer, foxes, and others can all be responsible for introducing ticks onto your local property.
There are a number of tick-borne diseases that we can see in a dog. We can easily test for the most common infections with an in-office test known as 4DX. This test detects Lyme disease, two strains of Ehrlichia, and 2 strains of Anaplasma. These are all bacterial infections spread by tick bites. Lyme disease is carried by the “deer” tick, while the other diseases are transmitted through the bite of the various “dog” ticks.
At the Massapequa Hospital for Animals, we tested approximately 1,000 dogs in a recent 12 month period. Of these, 45 tested positive on the 4DX test for one of the above-mentioned diseases. That is almost 5% or 1 out of 20 dogs! Many of these were backyard confined pets. Some were significantly ill with the disease. Fortunately, some were not sick and had only been exposed without developing an illness. Any dog that tests positive goes through further testing to check the health status of their kidneys and liver. Their white and red blood cell counts, their platelet count, and urinalysis are also evaluated. After this information is obtained, the doctors decide upon treatment options and for what duration of time.
Annual Accuplex 4 Testing
Because of the serious nature of these illnesses and the increased recognition of their threat to local pets, we have incorporated annual Accuplex 4 testing into our health care protocol for dogs. If you are interested in having a complete health examination performed, including the above-mentioned Accuplex 4 test, please call our office for an appointment.