The Importance of Protecting Your Pet from Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworms in Glendale, AZ
The prevention of parasites, from fleas and ticks to heartworms, is an important part of your pet’s protection against disease here in Glendale, AZ. Every dog and cat should get started on parasite preventatives (appropriate for their size) as early as possible. Infestations are just one side of the parasite menace—the risk of disease is another. Fortunately, infestations and parasitic diseases can be effectively prevented with the proper medications.
How are Dogs and Cats Infected with Heartworm?
Mosquitoes are parasites themselves, and this characteristic enables them to spread heartworm disease from animal to animal. A mosquito that has ingested heartworm larvae from a recent host will transmit that larvae to the next host while taking a blood meal. The larvae will travel through the host’s bloodstream and come to rest in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. As their numbers increase, the worms will obstruct the arteries and make it much more difficult for the heart to function properly.
Prevention is the Best Medicine for Heartworm Disease
Dogs and cats are both at risk of becoming infected with heartworms if they aren’t receiving heartworm preventatives throughout the year. Prevention is essential because heartworm disease can be fatal. Cats are especially vulnerable; just one heartworm can be life-threatening. While heartworm can also be fatal for dogs, it can be treated if it’s detected early enough. However, heartworm treatment is very expensive, and it can be stressful for your pet, who might still suffer from irreversible damage as a result of the disease.
Why Dogs and Cats Need Flea and Tick Protection, Too
Fleas and ticks are notorious for causing aggravating infestations, and they can make life miserable for your pet and for you. Fleas, once they invade your home, are a challenge to get rid of, and ticks are capable of spreading diseases to your pet and to you. Some of the biggest health problems associated with these pests include:
- Flea allergy dermatitis – Some dogs can develop an allergic reaction to flea saliva, which causes severe itching of the skin.
- Tapeworm – If your pet has fleas and they accidentally ingest one (or a few) while grooming themselves, they could end up with tapeworms. Tapeworms are intestinal worms that siphon essential nutrients from your pet. Fortunately, they can be treated with the right medication.
- Lyme disease – Deer ticks can carry a certain bacteria which, when it ends up in the bloodstream of a dog, can cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease causes inflammation of the joints, fever, lethargy, and inappetence in dogs. While Lyme disease is often treatable, it can be life-threatening to elderly dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems. Fortunately, Lyme disease is not especially common in Arizona.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – This tick-borne disease is a little more common in our area, but cases are still pretty rare. The brown dog tick is known for carrying this disease. Symptoms include fever, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, coughing, and swelling of the legs and face.
Start Protecting Your Pet Today
Fleas, ticks, heartworms, roundworms, and other pests are here to stay, but your pet doesn’t have to be at their mercy. Contact Stetson Hills Animal Hospital at (623) 889-7090 to learn about the different parasite preventatives we carry, and which ones are most appropriate for your pet. The key is to provide your dog or cat with continuous protection throughout the year so they (and you) never have to worry about infestations or parasite-borne illnesses.