An early spring is great news for a villainous group of bad bugs just waiting to unleash their evil powers on unsuspecting pets. The best weapons of defense against these parasitic bad bugs are a protector’s knowledge and a veterinary champion to help our superhero dogs fend off attacks.
Who are these bad bugs?
What are their dark powers and how can they be defeated?
Flea – The Supreme Jumper
- Small and dark brown or copper in color but generally undetected except by their dark droppings
- Prefer darkness so will seek dense fur or body areas not exposed to the light
- Favor warm and humid conditions but various stages in the life cycle can withstand most conditions to be an ongoing nuisance
- Powerful back legs—these supreme jumpers have no boundaries, from dog to dog, grass to dog or dog to furniture, extreme athletes get around quickly.
- Irritating bite with potent saliva that causes intense itching sensation to the victim or worse, inflammation and hair loss to ultra-sensitive victims.
The defense: Prescription medications that break the flea lifecycle and stop reproduction. Preventive treatment is recommended year-round but especially applied during the early spring before the hunting season starts. If your pet has a hypersensitivity to the flea bite, ask your veterinarian about treatment that also kills the mature flea to stop the severe reactions from the flea saliva.
- Tiny terrors that are dark brown or black in color
- Related to scorpions and spiders
- Hard exterior making them impervious to harm or death by crushing
- Blood-sucking, disease-carrying vampire with jaws of steel for clamping down on victims
- Known to transmit Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other diseases in a single bite
The defense: Ask your veterinarian about preventive treatments that protect your pet against fleas and ticks. Due to the prevalence of ticks and diagnosis of diseases like Lyme year-round, preventive treatments should be administered regularly. Prevention also includes carefully scanning your pet’s fur and body for tiny black specs after being outside, especially in wooded areas and long grasses and brush. Depending on where you live and your dog’s lifestyle, ask your veterinarian about the Lyme vaccine.
- Stealth adult wings
- Derives reproductive powers from water and warm conditions to form an attacking army in record time
- Weapon of choice: Sword of Proboscis – pierces the skin while injecting a painkiller so it can quickly suck the victim’s blood and fly away before being detected
- Carrier of the deadly heartworm larvae which are deposited in the host victim during a mosquito’s bite. The larvae invade the victim’s heart causing severe disease or death if untreated.
The defense: Preventive treatment of heartworm is the best defense. Ask your veterinarian about an oral medication your dog and cat should be given regularly to avoid heartworm disease. Your pet should also be tested regularly for heartworm so that treatment can start immediately if test results are positive. You can help control the mosquito population by getting rid of stagnant water sources—empty flower pots, undrained baby pools, old tires—that serve as breeding grounds for these thieves of the heart.
Fly – The Dark Lady
- Bionic compound eyes that detect the slightest of movement in order to protect them from harm
- Females feast on blood (unlike males which prefer sweet items like fruits and sweetened drinks) making them particularly malicious
- Sets of wings and multiple legs for superior balance
- Jaws of steel produce the ability to inflict torture and pain upon the victim from a single bite to the thin skin of the ears or nose
- Multiple bites can result in irritation or infection
- Prefer a barn atmosphere around farm animals
- Enjoys hot summer days when there’s no breeze to provide relief
The defense: If your dog is sensitive to fly bites, keep your dog inside during the warmest daylight hours and avoid spending too much time around farm animals or in a barn. If your dog develops an infected wound, seek veterinary help immediately.
These bad bugs may be a deathly group looking to prey on vulnerable pets, but their evil powers are no match for superhero dogs armed with the best defense weapons. Now is a great time to consult with your veterinarian about the best protection for your dog. Start preventive treatments for fleas and ticks so your dog has full protection moving into the summer and fall months. Call Doylestown Veterinary Hospital at 215-345-6000 today to schedule your pet’s annual exam or to order preventive treatments. (And during spring lawn maintenance, check for areas that would make for attractive real estate such as low-drainage spots, overgrown grasses or brush, and unused/broken gardening items and toys.)