Fleas and ticks pose problems for both pets and their owners, ranging from minor annoyances to severe illnesses. The blood loss caused by fleas and ticks can lead to anemia, while allergic reactions and more serious illnesses can also occur. Although these pests are challenging to avoid entirely, you can manage them using the methods we discuss below. However, treatment by a veterinarian may be necessary despite your best efforts. If you live in or near Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and require veterinary care for your pet, contact us at Westgate Animal Hospital to schedule a convenient appointment.
Warning Signs of Fleas and Ticks
The primary warning signs for fleas and ticks can be identified through a physical examination of your pet and by observing their behaviors. Examining your pet may reveal fleas (visible as small black specks) moving in their fur, flea droppings (dark specks that do not move), and flea eggs (white grains). Fleas are often discovered using a flea comb, especially for cats. The presence of scabs on the skin can also suggest a problem. Behaviors that indicate the presence of fleas include excessive licking and scratching.
Preventing Fleas and Ticks
The Centre for Disease Control regards Lyme disease as the most common tick-borne disease in BC. We highly recommend getting Lyme and other vaccinations to prevent your pet from getting sick and potentially passing it on to their owners.
In addition to vaccinations, other steps that can help prevent or reduce the likelihood of your pet being negatively affected by ticks include:
- Regularly shampooing your pet and using a flea comb.
- Using preventive collars, tablets, or skin treatments.
- Eliminating flea and tick habitats by maintaining a clean home, vacuuming regularly, and keeping long grass and leaf piles out of your yard.
Ticks are approximately the size of a pinhead before they bite, but they swell with blood after biting. They can be manually removed using the following steps:
- Cover your hands with gloves or tissue.
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick from the side and by its head.
- Pull the tick straight up without twisting.
- Avoid popping the blood-filled belly. Place the tick in a jar containing rubbing alcohol and save it.
- Disinfect the bite area, the tweezers, and your hands.
Monitor the bite area for several weeks, checking for redness or other signs of infection. If an infection occurs, consult your veterinarian and bring the jarred tick with you.
Contact Westgate Animal Hospital
Are you looking for a veterinarian near you? Pet owners living in or near Maple Ridge entrust their pets' care to Westgate Animal Hospital for all aspects of their veterinary needs. Call or visit us today, and we will be delighted to schedule an appointment for you and your pet.