Interesting Facts About External Parasites

external parasites

External parasites are a major problem for pets in Oklahoma during the summer months.  I bet there are a few things in this article that you didn’t know.  The main take away is to protect your pet so they don’t get sick.

Did you know that a single flea can bite your pet 400 times a day, drink more than its body weight in blood and produce hundreds of eggs each day?  Besides causing skin and allergy issues, fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pet. When you see fleas on your pet, you only see 5% of their population. The other 95%, (consisting of eggs, larvae, and pupae) are living in the environment, such as your carpet, couch, and grass. Weather permitting, new adult fleas emerge every 2 weeks.

Ticks are not only disgusting but also dangerous. They can transmit several different blood parasites that can be life-threatening to you and your pet. Recently, a new tick-transmitted disease called Bobcat Fever has been discovered in our area. This illness is 100% fatal to cats. Did you know that when a tick bites your pet, the anesthetic in their saliva keeps the bite from hurting and contains an anticoagulant that keeps the blood flowing? Some life stages of the tick can be so small that they can be difficult to see.

Heartworms are transmitted from animal to animal via mosquitoes.  Did you know that mosquitoes are the number one disease carrier to humans in the world and ticks are number two in the United States?  Mosquitoes have a multitude of sensors designed to detect their prey – including heat, chemical, and visual sensors.

For you and your pet’s safety, strict control of external parasites is paramount. There are many products available, prescription and over the counter, that control flea, ticks, and mosquitoes.  For successful treatment, all pets in the area need to be treated as well as the environment.  Prescription products are typically more expensive but much more effective and last longer than over the counter products.  If you have a cat, make sure the product is labeled for cats, as certain types can be life-threatening.  If you are having problems controlling fleas and ticks, contact your veterinarian for advice.

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