Does my pet have ticks and/or fleas?
There are many types of pests that are likely to irritate your pets skin and cause diseases. The flea and then the tick are by far the most common.
Fleas are very small and can sometimes be hard to identify. Some indications that your pet has fleas:
- Excessive scratching, biting and licking. Be care not to mistake skin allergies for fleas.
- “Flea Dirt” may be present on your pets skin or bedding. If you part your pets coat you may see black specks of dirt. This Flea Dirt is the faeces of fleas, which is a mix of blood meal and flea waste product.
- White specks on your pets coat may be flea eggs.
- Your pet may also develop allergies, severe skin irritation and hotspots. Even a loss of hair due to excessive scratching.
The best way to check is to part your pets coat and inspect it. And also inspect your pets bedding.
Ticks are however bigger and more easy to see. Younger ticks are smaller and you may find them running on your pets coat. Adult ticks will be larger and swollen from sucking your pets blood.
Tick & Flea Lifecycle
Why does this matter? Why should I care? Unfortunately many pet owners think that a once off tick and flea dip will rid their pet and home of these nasties. NOT TRUE! Well not completely.
Due to the lifecycle of both ticks and fleas their eggs and larvae may also be present in your home and pets environment and reinfest them. Dip only kills the ticks and fleas on your pet at the time of dipping. That’s why there are monthly and quarterly treatments.
Treating both your pet and the environment is the quickest way to get rid of these nasties.
There are approximately 2,500 different types of fleas around the world!
The tick lifecycle, is similar to the flea lifecycle.
Ticks are small parasites that can hide in your pet’s coat and transmit toxins that lead to illness and sometimes death. It is important to know what to do if your dog has a tick and how to try and prevent them with proper tick treatment.
The best way to remove a tick is using a pair of tweezers. Grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible. and removing it in a steady motion. And then cleaning the area where the tick was attached.
Diseases that Ticks & Fleas Spread
Ticks are carriers of diseases like Babesiosis (Biliary) and Ehrlichia (Tick Bite Fever). Unfortunately many pets die every year from this.
The most common form is Biliary which is caused by a tiny parasite called ‘Babesia canis’ that is introduced to your pet’s body from a tick bite. This disease causes anaemia as your pet’s red blood cells are destroyed. If left Tick Bite Fever or Biliary can be fatal.
Some symptoms include:
- Temperature of 39 degrees Celcius or higher
- If your pet’s mucous membranes are turning pale, white or yellow (signs of more advanced stage)
- Gums may also be pale and yellow.
It is best to get your pet to a vet as quickly as possible. There are a number of 24 hr vets open across the country.
Flea Diseases & Conditions
Fleas can cause havoc on your pets skin. Many pets are allergic to fleas and their skin reacts causing severe itchiness, leading to sores.
- Scratching and itching can lead to hair loss
- Flea allergy dermatitis. An allergy to flea saliva causing skin condition. In severe cases it may become fatal.
- Anaemia, especially in puppies and kittens, which may prove fatal if left untreated
- Tapeworm infestations (some fleas are carriers of tapeworm), ingested with fleas infected with tapeworm.
Fleas can jump rather far and unfortunately if one pet has fleas it is highly likely the others will too as the majority of fleas are in the environment and not on the pet.
Treatment & Prevention of Ticks & Fleas
There are several different types of treatments and preventative options on the market.
Some treatment options include: Shampoos, Dips, Powders. And others that are both for the treatment AND prevention of an infestation.
1. Chewable Tablets
Chewable tablets are both a preventative measure as well as a treatment for pets already infested with ticks, fleas and some cases mites as well.
There are a few tablets with different active ingredients on the market.
Simparica is a tasty chew, lasts up to 35 days, effective against 5 different tick genera, 2 different flea species and 2 different mite species from living it up in your abode.
Sarolaner is more potent than the currently marketed isoxazolines, afoxolaner and fluralaner, at a lower concentration. Meaning less chemicals.
It is manufactured by Zoetis, the largest animal pharmaceutical company. They manufacture many of the common medicines prescribed by vets including Revolution, Rimadyl, Synulox and Nutradyl.
Comes in a pack with 3 chewable tablets = 3 months.
1.2 Bravecto Chew for Dogs
Bravecto has both a chewable and spot-on for dogs. And for cats a spot on only.
Bravecto chew protects your dog (and puppy 8 weeks and older) from ticks and fleas for 12 weeks. And treats mites as well.
NB!!!! Must be given with food for optimal efficacy!
1.3 Nexgard and Nexguard Spectra for Dogs
Nexgard and Nexgard Spectra for dogs is a tasty monthly chew.
NexGard protects dogs against ticks, fleas and mites whereas NexGard SPECTRA contains an additional active ingredient, milbemycin oxime, which provides protection against heartworm and intestinal worms.
Nexgard Spectra treats and prevents fleas and ticks. Helps to prevent heartworm disease and controls adult roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and lungworm infestations. It also helps prevent the establishment of adult Spirocerca lupi in the oesophagus.
2. Spot-On Treatment
There are a number of spot-on treatments on the market for both dogs and cats. Spot-Ons like Revolution can also be used on puppies and kittens.
2.1 Revolution for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens
Revolution is great for both cats and dogs. As well as kittens and puppies.
- Kills adult fleas
- Kills ticks
- Prevents flea eggs from hatching
- Prevents and controls flea infestations
- Treats and controls ear mites
- Treats intestinal roundworm
- Treats lice infestations
- Treats and control sarcoptic mange
2.2 Bravecto Spot-On for Dogs and Cats
For cats older than 11 weeks and dogs older than 8 weeks. Treats and protects against ticks and fleas as well as ear mites.
Bravecto spot-on for dogs protects against ticks for 4 months and fleas for 6 months. And 3 months of protection for ticks and fleas for your cat.
Watch this handy video on how to apply it.
Frontline is a popular spot-on protecting and treating against ticks and fleas.
The spray can also be used on puppies and kittens.
Advantix for dogs kills fleas and ticks on contact, meaning they don’t have to bite your dog to be affected by the active ingredients. Advantix also repels ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies and stable flies. Advantix is a simple water-resistant spot-on treatment for dogs of all sizes and puppies from seven weeks of age.
Prevention and treatment of spirocercosis (Spirocerca lupi)!
Advocate is an all-in-one, monthly spot on treatment of common mixed parasite infections in dogs weighing 4kg or more. Kill many bugs with this 1 fantastic product. Advocate spot on for dogs treats and prevents multiple, common worm infections as well as fleas, ear mites, mange mites and biting lice.
- Kills fleas and larvae on dogs
- Treats ear mite infestation, sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange.
- Prevention of heartworm disease .
- Treatment of infections with gastrointestinal nematodes including ascarids, hookworms and whipworms .
- Treatment of biting lice infestation.
- Prevention and treatment of spirocercosis (Spirocerca lupi).
4. Collars, Shampoos, Dips and Powders
Shampoos and dips are most often used for pets already infested with ticks. They do not prevent ticks and fleas. If your environment has ticks and fleas they will reattach to your pet. You will need to treat the environment as well.
Ensure you follow the instructions carefully! NOT ALL dips are suitable for cats and other animals and can be toxic.
Dips must be diluted correctly. And both shampoo and dips kept from the eyes and ears.
Powders can be a little messy but also an effective option.
Seresto collars are also great option.
Treating You Environment
By using a tick and flea treatment on your pet, such as chews and spot-ons, will automatically kill them. However if you want to get rid of them even sooner then you will need to treat your environment as well.
Vacuuming your home, furniture and washing sheets and your pets bedding will aid in getting a clamp down on these nasties fast.
Remember to throw away the vacuum bag.
Don't forget to treat year round
A common misconception is that you should stop giving your pet tick and flea treatment during winter. The fact is that ticks and fleas can withstand our winters and can still attach to your pet. There are certainly fewer of these pests during winter
*Always read product information for administration and additional information. Errors and omissions reserved.