Fleas

Fleas are the most common external parasite to plague companion animals. They are wingless insects that feed on blood, can jump up to two feet high and are persistent in the environment.
Fleas can live for as few as 13 days or as long as 12 months—and during that time, can produce millions of offspring. 

Symptoms of Fleas on Dogs
Fleas are most commonly noticed on a dog’s abdomen, the base of the tail and the head. Common symptoms of fleas on dogs include:
Droppings or “flea dirt” in a dog’s coat (small dark "grains of sand")
Flea eggs (tiny, white grains)
Allergic dermatitis
Excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin
Hair loss
Scabs and hot spots
Pale gums
Tapeworms

Causes of Fleas
Fleas are easily brought in from the outdoors.
Fleas thrive in warm, humid climates at temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees.
Adult fleas spend most of their lives on the animal, laying eggs in the fur.
These eggs drop out onto rugs, upholstery, bedding and furniture; the new adult fleas will, in turn, find their living host (either human or animal).

Flea Complications
Fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood, which can cause anemia or a significant amount of blood loss over time.
This is especially problematic in young puppies or kittens, where an inadequate number of red blood cells can be life-threatening.
Some pets have heightened sensitive to the saliva of fleas, which can cause an allergic reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis.

Flea Treatment
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has fleas. It is important that all of your pets are treated for fleas, including indoor and outdoor cats, and that the environment is treated as well. Once your veterinarian confirms the diagnosis, a treatment plan may include the following:
Topical or oral treatment or the use of shampoos, sprays and powders on the pet.
Thorough cleaning of your house, including rugs, bedding and upholstery. Severe cases may require using a spray or a fogger, which requires temporary evacuation of the home.
It is very important not to use products on your cat that are intended for dogs.
Lawn treatments may also be needed if your pet keeps getting re-infected every time it goes outside.


Flea Prevention
Keep the outside of your house free of organic debris, such as rake clippings and leaves, and remember that fleas like to hide in dark, moist, shady areas.
There are many preventative flea control products available, both as prescription and over-the-counter formulas. Essential oils can be applied daily as a natural alternative to chemical medicines. Research what essential oils are safe for pets before applying to skin or defusing.  Keep your dog clean and on flea medicine. (oral or topical) 

Ticks
Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of unlucky host animals, such as cats and dogs. Like mites and spiders, ticks are arachnids. Although their presence may not even be noticed by the host, ticks can transmit many diseases through their bite.
Tick species and disease transmission tend to vary based on where you live, so check with your vet about what is common in your area.
Complications Associated with Ticks
Blood loss
Anemia
Tick paralysis
Skin irritation or infection
Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection than can affect humans, dogs, cats and other mammals.
Its primary carrier is the deer tick, which can attach to a dog or human and transmit the bacteria that cause the disease.
Clinical signs of Lyme disease include depression, swelling of the lymph nodes, loss of appetite, fever, swollen, painful joints and kidney failure.
Lyme disease is most effectively treated with antibiotics.

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