Fleas, Ticks & Heartworm, Oh My

Dog-Flea

Fleas, ticks and heartworms can be dangerous for your dog in different ways. Know the signs of infestation and have routine heartworm blood test by your vet to keep on top of heartworm disease. Fleas and ticks can cause parasitic diseases, but heartworm disease can be fatal for your dog.

I wonder if Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) ever had to face these dangers with Toto! 🐶 🤣🤣 Just a bit of humor for a dreary subject.

So, You Think Your Dog Can’t Get Fleas – Think Again!

Fleas-on-dogFleas are disgusting. They are blood sucking creatures that are small, dark and wingless parasites. Their mouths are like a tube that they use for feeding on the blood of your dog. Fleas come is several different type…a dog flea; one for cats and one for humans. They also come in different stages

Flea eggs; which lay directly on your dog’s’ fur and spread all over your dog, flea larvae, which are blind, so they stay out of the light and feed off flea dirt. The last stage is the flea pupae stage. This stage is identical to that of a butterfly, in that it has a cocoon stage.

The cocoon protects the pupae for several days to even weeks before the adult flea rears its ugly head. Then the adult flea begins feeding from your dog in a matter of a few hours. After the adult flea has his meal, he will breed and begin laying eggs within a few days.

New adult fleas have flat bodies, are very small and are dark. After they feed off you dog, they get larger and their color will get lighter as well. This is when they can be more noticeable.

Fleas Make Your Dog Sick – Four Types of Diseases

Flea bites irritate you dog and can spread disease that can lead to many health problems.  Because fleas are parasite, they can spread a multitude of diseases to your dog. Here are just four of the most common diseases that fleas can cause.

Flea allergy Dermatitis, Tapeworms, Anemia and Bartonellosis.

Flea allergy dermatitis. Many dogs suffer from it. This is an allergic condition that is caused by getting bit by fleas. Beware that flea bites can generate an immune reaction in your dog that includes symptoms such as skin irritation, itchiness, hair loss and skin infections.

Your dog can swallow the fleas while chewing at the irritated skin or from licking themselves or when they groom their fur on your dog.

If the dog wind up eating the fleas and they are infected with tapeworms this can mean big trouble for your dog, because the dog will become infected with the tapeworms as well.

Tapeworm-inside-dogTapeworms inside your dog’s digestive system will attach themselves to the lining of the intestines. When your dog has tapeworms, you will see worms around the dog’s backside and in the dog’s stool. These tapeworms look identical to little pieces of white rice.

Anemia Because fleas reproduce rapidly, one flea on your dog can turn into many. When large numbers of fleas bite and infect your dog, anemia can develop or lower the red blood cells in your dog. This is serious, so when this happens, bring your dog to your vet immediately, especially if your dog is a puppy.

Bartonellosis I don’t know about you, but I can’t even pronounce this word. However; it is a bacterial infection in dogs that are connected to fleas. Bartonellosis causes fevers, nausea, loss of appetite, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain and can even alter brain function. Dogs that are affected do not necessarily show any signs of the disease.

Keep checking your dog for signs of fleas, so they can be eliminating before they cause major problems. Use a flea preventative medications, such as drops, flea collars, or even a recently produced pill form of flea preventative.

Protect Your Dog, Home and Yard

Clean your dog often. Use a flea comb to run through your dog’s hair to spot any fleas they may have. Flea-combYou need to look very closely to spot eggs, larvae and the adult flea. Make sure you have a hot soapy water nearby to get rid of the fleas you might find.  Then call your vet to see what medication they recommend you use.

Wash-all-beddingWhen cleaning your home, make sure you wash bedding regularly. Anywhere you pet sleeps, wash their bedding as well.  Check furniture for signs of fleas. If you find them, you should steam clean the furniture with hot water and a flea killer.

Also look behind furniture to determine if fleas are living on floors behind and under the furniture. Use a vacuum to clean the floors beneath and around furniture. Make sure that you clean the vacuum canister or bag after you are done. You should performVacuuming this cleaning several times a month.

The best way to detect fleas in your yard is to walk around in white socks.  If you have fleas in the yard they will be attracted to the bright color of the socks. When your yard is infested with fleas, it is best to get and expert pet exterminator to remove the problem. Their powerfully chemicals will do the trick.

Ticks Get Under Your Dog’s Skin – Be Aware, Take Action!

A-tickTicks do get under your dog’s skin. They are parasitic organisms called ectoparasites.  These parasitic organisms live on the outside of your dogs’ skin. Ticks are the most common ectoparasite for dogs.

Attacks are linked to the region of the country where you live and varies with the climate. The habits of your dog, and how and when you use tick control products makes a huge difference.

Your dog can be infested with ticks whether they spend most of their time inside the house or just spend small periods of time outdoors.

They attach to your dog. They insert their mouth into your dog’s skin. Ticks may also produce a sticky, Ticks-on-a-dogsubstance that is like a glue. This is how they can stay attached to your dog’s body. After they attach to your dog, they feed on your dog’s blood. The areas where ticks attach become red and irritated.

Ticks can even drink enough of your dog’s blood to cause a deficiency called anemia. Sometime ticks cause a paralysis in your dog.

This is from a poison that the tick produces while they are biting on your dog. The most important thing to remember is that ticks cause many disease in your dog such as Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Try to prevent your dog from being exposed to ticks. They can attach to your dog anytime they are outside. Since it is difficult to prevent your dog from being exposed, you should use tick control products that are recommended by your vet. Also, make sure your yard is treated for ticks as well.

Tick-on-neck-of-humanThe best way to keep ticks from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products. Your veterinarian can tell you about the best product for your dog and your situation. Your veterinarian is also aware of diseases that are common in your area that can be a risk to your dog. One other thing regarding ticks. They can also attach to humans and cause both Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

 Heartworm Disease is Fatal – Be Vigilant!

Heartworm-inside-a-dogHeartworm disease is a serious and possibly fatal disease in your dog. Heartworm is a threat to dogs and other pets, not just in the United States but in other parts of the world.  It’s important to be vigilant. This is a long but very important subject, so please bear with me.

It is caused by twelve-inch-long worms that live in the heart, lungs and related blood vessels of affected dogs. It causes serious lung disease; heart failure and it damages other organs in their body.

This is a very important piece of information, so listen up everyone! Heartworm disease just doesn’t affect your dog, cat or ferret. This is the part that pet owners don’t realize, but heartworms also live in other animals like wolves, foxes, coyotes, even sea lions and…wait for it, even in humans.  Wolves, foxes and coyotes are the disease carriers.

Your dog is a real host for heartworms. If you don’t treat them, they will increase in number. A dog can have hundreds of worms it’s body.

How is heartworm disease transmitted from one pet to another?

When a mosquito bites a dog that has heartworm disease, it picks up the worms. The worms develop Mosquitointo and infective stage in a period of fourteen days. Then when the infected mosquito bites another dog, the worms are transferred to that dog. If not treated, heartworm can live inside your dog for up to seven years.

 

 

What are the signs of heartworm disease in dogs?

Heartworm-diseaseMany dogs show little symptoms or no symptoms at all in the beginning. When the infection continues, the symptoms develop further. Dogs that are severely infected will show proven medical signs.

Signs of heartworm disease consist of a mild constant cough, a decline in activity, tiredness, reduced appetite, and weight loss.

As the disease grows, your dog may develop heart failure and their belly area will get swollen due to additional fluid in the abdomen.

Dogs that have large numbers of heartworms develop obstructions of blood flow within the heart. This cause a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. Watch for signs of laboured breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody urine. If surgical removal of the blockage is not performed, your dog will not survive.

How often should your dog be tested?

Your dog should be tested on a yearly basis. Usually your vet will test the by drawing blood during your dog’s during a routine visit for preventative care.

Annual testing is necessary, even when your dog is already taking heartworm prevention medication. This guarantees that the medication is working. Heartworm medications are very effective, but your dog can still get the disease.

What what do I do if your dog tests positive for heartworms?

Most dogs can be treated successfully even if they test positive for Heartworms. If tested positive, you should restrict exercise, stabilize the disease, make sure you give your dog whatever treat your vet prescribes and have the tests done again six months later to make sure the prevention treatment worked.

Medications – Which Preventative is Best for Your Dog?

Frontline-for-fleas-and-ticksThere are many preventative medications on the market today for fleas, ticks and heartworm. Some are liquid drops for fleas and ticks that you put on the dogs back from its neck down. They also make oral medications, fleas and tick shampoos and fleas and tick collars.

Heartworm-medicationFor Heartworm disease the treat is very different. If your dog already has heartworms, your vet may prescribe multiple medications to kill the heartworms, along with a preventative such as HEARTGARD to help prevent further occurrences.

“An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth the Cure”!

Doing your vet recommended treatments for fleas, ticks and heartworm goes a long way in preventing these dog afflictions. Learn the signs and symptoms so you can act immediately so that diseases do not affect your dog.  As I’ve said throughout this post “Be Vigilant”. If you are vigilant, your dog will be safe, happy and playful and will not have to be worried about itching and biting himself or discharging worm in his stool or vomit.

For more information, please leave comments below and I will be happy to respond. Also, if you would like updates on this post or any others on my website, please leave your email address in the Black and Orange form to the right of this page.

 

All the best!

Barbara

Founder: My Everything For Your Dog🐶

 

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