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Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworm, Oh My!

It's almost summertime! Is your pet prepared for the great outdoors? Hiking and summer walks are great for your pup, but leaves you both more susceptible to harmful parasites. Today we take a look at frequent pet care concerns and what we as pet parents can do to help prevent them from happening:

Fleas:
Fleas are wingless insects that are the most common external parasites found on pets. They are easily brought in from the outdoors and can find hosts in animals or humans. They can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood, which can lead to significant blood loss in your pet. This can be especially detrimental for puppies. Symptoms of fleas are the appearance of dark sand-like specimens, hair loss, excessive scratching, and scabs or hot spots. 

How to prevent:
You can prevent fleas by using a flea comb on your pet's fur or bedding. There are also many over-the-counter and prescription flea preventative to help support your dogs. Lifeline Puppy Rescue treats every dog and puppy with a topical flea preventative upon rescue at the shelter. 

Ticks:
Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans and have the ability to transmit diseases through their bites. They live in the tall grasses of the outdoors and can cause anemia, tick paralysis, Lyme Disease, skin infections, and Cytauxzoonosis which is a lethal infection. 

How to prevent it: 
Many tick treatments can also be used as tick preventative. Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick preventative for your pet and be sure to check your pet regularly for ticks, especially if they spend much time outdoors. Lifeline Puppy Rescue treats their dogs and puppies with a 30 day tick preventative to remove any ticks found upon rescue or to prevent ticks from coming in contact.

Heartworm: 
Signs for heartworm disease usually begin with dogs 2-8 years in age, but infected dogs may take years to start showing symptoms. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis, which is spread through mosquitoes. Heartworms left untreated can lead to clogging of the heart and major blood vessels to prevent blood flow to the heart and other organs and may be fatal. Symptoms include a soft dry cough, loss of stamina, and shortness of breath. 

How to prevent: 
Heartworm disease can be diagnosed through a blood test. Lifeline Puppy Rescue tests all puppies 8 months of age and older as veterinarian recommended. Heartworm preventative is available to protect your pup from this disease. Discuss with your veterinarian which heartworm program may be right for you.

Warmer weather can bring about harmful parasites to your pup, but being proactive with preventatives can protect your pet this summer. 

Lifeline Puppy Rescue supports every dog and puppy that comes into our care through heartworm testing and flea and tick preventative. Can you help support our treatment by donating? 

https://www.lifelinepuppy.org/how-you-can-help/donate.html

 

For more information on fleas, ticks, and heartworm visit:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/fleas-and-ticks

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/heartworm-disease-in-dogs


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