Heartworm, Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs and Cats in Winter Haven, FL
Parasites are an ongoing health threat to our pets, but preventing infestations and parasitic diseases is easily achievable with the right medicine. At Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL, we recommend that every pet be administered heartworm, flea and tick preventatives throughout the year, every year. Thanks to Florida’s mild climate, flea and tick activity is more or less constant, making constant prevention absolutely necessary.
Does your pet need parasite preventatives? Don’t wait. Start protecting them today.
My Pet Doesn't Go Outside -
are They Still at Risk?
Even pets that live their entire lives indoors are at risk for parasites. Fleas and ticks are extremely tiny, and can easily hitch a ride on your clothes, shoes, or other objects you bring into your home (such as blankets, furniture, etc.). Fleas often shelter in carpet, upholstery, and even hardwood floors, and they can jump incredibly long distances to get to a host. Mosquitoes, which are known for transmitting heartworm disease to dogs and cats, are another menace that can sneak into your home undetected.
In short, regardless of your pet’s lifestyle, they should be receiving monthly parasite preventatives to keep them safe and healthy.
What Diseases Can Pets Get from Parasites?
Flea and tick medicine for dogs and cats is recommended to not only prevent infestations; it also prevents the spread of harmful diseases. The most common include:
Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes infected with heartworm larvae. When a mosquito feeds on a dog or cat, it transmits the larvae into their host's bloodstream. The larvae then travel through the bloodstream and take root in the blood vessels surrounding the heart and lungs, where they mature and multiply. This puts considerable strain on the heart, which has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. In extreme cases, this can be fatal. While treatment does exist for dogs, there is currently no method available for treating heartworm disease in cats.
Lyme disease is spread to dogs via black legged/deer ticks carrying Borellia burgdorferi bacteria. When this bacteria is transmitted to the host, it causes an infection with symptoms that may include stiffness, sore joints, lack of appetite, fever, and trouble breathing. Lyme disease can be treated successfully if caught in time, but puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with a history of illness can be vulnerable.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Flea saliva contains chemicals to which some dogs and cats are allergic. If a flea bites them, they develop severely itchy skin, which is known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). FAD is thought to be one of the most common causes of skin disease in dogs and cats, and the best way to prevent it is with flea and tick preventatives.
Intestinal Parasites can be Problematic for Dogs and Cats, Too
Dogs and cats can also become infested with tapeworms if they unknowingly ingest any fleas while grooming themselves or attempting to relieve itchiness caused by the fleas. Roundworms and other intestinal worms can be spread via contact with infected stool. However, many puppies and kittens also present to us with worms. Infected mothers can unknowingly spread the parasites to their young either through their milk or while their babies are in the womb. This is why it is common for puppies and kittens to have to undergo deworming treatments when they first see their vet.
Some telltale signs of intestinal worms include diarrhea, bloating of the belly, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, and dehydration. If you notice any of these in your puppy or kitten, seek treatment immediately.