Why Cats and Dogs Need Year-Round Flea, Tick & Heartworm Prevention in Pewaukee
Our dogs and cats are vulnerable to parasites such as fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms, which they can easily encounter when hiking in the woods, swimming in rivers, or lakes, and even in our back yards! At Pewaukee Veterinary Service, we put a strong emphasis on preventative care, and parasite prevention is a big part of that! With year-round parasite prevention, you give your pet the highest level of protection possible against these potentially dangerous parasites.
A Closer Look at The Dangers of Pet Parasites
Pet parasites don't always completely die out in winter, and the reappearance of seasonal parasites like heartworms (carried by mosquitoes) is difficult to predict each year. Find out the dangers these pests pose and why we recommend year-long prevention!
Fleas live in your pet’s coat and feed on their blood. In sensitive pets, even one flea bite can cause an allergic reaction of itchy, irritated skin. Other dangers these parasites pose include the transmission of Bartonella (cat scratch disease) or tapeworm larvae. Both Bartonella and tapeworms can also infect your human family! Since fleas are notoriously hard to get rid of, any lapse of flea prevention could induce a resurgence. With consistent prevention as well as thorough cleaning of your pet’s bedding, your furniture, carpets, and any other place fleas could be hiding, you can keep these pests at bay!
Ticks are infamous for their vector-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These diseases are dangerous for both our pets and our human families. Dogs are more at risk than cats not only because they are more likely to go hiking with their pet parents in forested areas, but their skin is also less sensitive than cats. Still, both cats and dogs need year-round tick prevention! These resilient pests can be active in temperatures as low as 35 degrees!
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes who are infected with heartworm larvae. When an infected mosquito bites your dog or cat, they transmit the larvae to their bloodstream. The larvae will then travel to the blood vessels in the heart and lungs, where they’ll grow, mature, and multiply. While cats are atypical hosts for heartworms, they can still contract heartworm disease, so it’s important they stay on heartworm prevention, too! While mosquitoes do die out in the winter, their revival each spring is getting harder to predict.
While heartworms make their home in your pet’s blood vessels, intestinal worms such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms, all take up residence in your pet’s digestive tract. These parasites might cause no symptoms at all, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing damage! Puppies and kittens frequently get worms from their mother, and so often go through a deworming treatment during their first year of life. Yet, any cat or dog can come in contact with these parasites through interaction with contaminated feces.
Other intestinal parasites to be aware of are coccidia and giardia, both of which can be found in contaminated soil or water that has an infected animal’s feces in it. These parasites often cause little to no symptoms, but a serious infection can result in diarrhea and weight loss.
Protect Your Pets with Year-Round Parasite Prevention
Preventing these parasites is as easy as staying consistent with your pet’s flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Many preventatives that protect against fleas, ticks, and heartworms also protect against intestinal parasites. Common preventatives include Heartgard, NexGard, Bravecto, ProHeart 6 or 12 (for dogs only) and Revolution (for cats only). Additionally, we also offer the Lyme disease vaccine for dogs, which gives them one more level of protection against this disease.