Oh no, Fido and Felix have fleas!

Oh no, Fido and Felix have fleas!

By Kylie Mackay of Northshore Pet Resort

When was the last time you checked your cat or dog for fleas and ticks? Ticks and fleas can cause severe illness in pets. They may be very small, but they can be very dangerous.

When do I need to worry about fleas and ticks?

While tick-borne diseases are the norm throughout Brisbane and the Queensland coast, ticks and fleas are common all year round, being especially active in warmer, humid months after rain. Brisbane’s climate is ideal for ticks and fleas as the humidity required for them to progress through their lifecycle is at optimal levels.

After a warm(ish) winter in 2021 followed by lots of rain over summer, ticks and fleas are loving life! For this reason, we are likely to see plenty of these pests in 2022, and pet owners will need to remain vigilant.

Ensure you keep up with pet tick and flea treatment and check over your pet’s skin and coat daily.

Checking for ticks and fleas

When checking for Brown Dog Ticks, Cattle Ticks or Paralysis Ticks, run your hand over the cat, kitten, dog or puppy’s body and feel for unusual bumps. Check paw pads, under the collar, between toes, even in the gum line and inside their ears.

When checking for fleas, run your hand over the body and feel for unusual clumps of hair. Flea-dirt clumps easily and sticks to the fur and skin of a cat, kitten, dog or puppy.

Flea dirt looks like flecks of black pepper. You will see it at the base of the hair follicles and may also notice it on your floor or the area that your pet sleeps. In contrast, flea eggs resemble small oval grains of sand or salt. They can be bright white, off white, or translucent.

Removal of ticks

If you find a tick on your pet, it is best to remove it as quickly as possible. Use tweezers, a tick removal system, or visit your local vet. Then monitor your pet for at least 24 hours for symptoms of paralysis. If you are concerned at all, keep the tick in a container and take it to your vet for identification.

How to identify tick paralysis

An unsteady staggering gait is the most well-known sign; however, some cats and dogs do not show typical hind limb paralysis. A dry or choking cough, gurgling, or even a change in the animal’s bark or meow may be early symptoms of tick toxicity. If you see any of these symptoms, contact your vet and search your pet thoroughly.

Prevention

There are many different flea and tick treatments on the market, so it is best to consult your local veterinarian to determine which one best suits your family. There are tablets, tick collars, shampoos and rinses, as well as oral chews available.

It is also important to note that some treatments are poisonous for cats, so if you have both cats and dogs at home and are worried about confusing dog and cat medications, speak to your vet about products that suit both.

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