Heartworms and fleas are among the most common pet health issues that cause concern to pet owners. Both of these can create serious health issues for your pet and animals are exposed to the possibility of getting them on an almost daily basis.
The most obvious sign of fleas is the constant scratching caused by the bites. The infested animal will have difficulty lying still or sleeping. They may scratch so severely that it causes other skin problems. Fleas can cause hyper sensitivity in affected animals. The more they’re bitten, the tenderer their skin is, the more they scratch to try to rid themselves of them, the more tender their skin gets. It’s a viscous cycle.
An animal with an infestation this severe will likely require medical attention. There are complications caused by the fleas that the vet will look for, anemia is one such complication. By closely observing the animal, it is fairly easy to catch any flea issues that they may be having. If you suspect that they are carrying fleas, do a quick exam. Move the hair out of the way so that you can see the skin. The fleas are easy to see just as the skin irritation is easy to find.
If a flea issue is caught early, it is usually easy enough to get rid of them from the pet. To kill fleas, bathe the animal with either a flea shampoo or Dawn dish soap. If using Dawn, it should be allowed to sit for 20 minutes in order to be the most effective.
There are many new products on the market that are designed to keep fleas off pets with one easy application each month. These products are water proof so bathing is not an issue. It is not advisable to use a flea shampoo with these products. If this is a house pet and the backyard is the only place that they are outside, you should consider treating the yard area for fleas as well. This will help to prevent re-infection. If the infection was severe, you may also want to treat your home.
There are many different animals that are affected by heartworms. These include dogs, cats, foxes, wolves and even horses. Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites. The adult heartworm can be from about seventeen centimeters (just under 7 inches) to twenty-seven centimeters (just under 11 inches) in length. Heartworms are a serious issue for animals because they collect in the heart causing it to work extremely hard. This significantly shortens the lifespan of any animal that is infected.
Although it is possible to treat heartworms, the treatment is much worse than the prevention. The animal is usually in a weakened condition by the time that the heartworms are discovered which adds to the complications of treatment. Because of the toll on the health of an animal and the serious nature of the treatment, your vet should talk to you about prevention the first time that your pet is seen. Many vets will continue to talk about prevention with each subsequent visit.
With the low cost and the availability of the preventative medications, keeping your pet free from heartworms is an easy thing to accomplish. If your pet is not currently taking anything, be sure to talk to your vet about starting.