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  • Writer's pictureColleen O'Brien, DVM, CVA

Are You Risking Your Pet's Life?

It's that time of year where we find ourselves going outside more to enjoy the warm weather (most of us got a few days this winter like that too, thanks to Climate Change!). We are about to hit peak flea, tick, and mosquito season though, and they will likely be as bad as ever, especially given our milder winters.

It's important that you protect your pet year-round from disease, and even more important in warm months. Here are what each pest carries and what you may be exposing your pet to if you don't protect them adequately. Many of these are things you and your family are also exposed to, and you increase you risk by having a pet.

1. Fleas: I have seen animals die of flea infestation. Fleas literally suck the blood and life right out of you. They can also transmit things like tapeworms and cat scratch fever.

2. Ticks. It is only the beginning of the season (as I write this) and I have already seen two patients come in with the trifecta: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlicia. Lyme disease can cause stiff joints, lethargy, and kidney failure. Anaplasmosis can cause fever and low platelets (the cell that stops you from bleeding). Ehrlicia causes similar signs to the other two.

3. Mosquitoes. The big concern in dogs from mosquitoes is heartworm disease. This worm literally lives in your dog’s heart, multiplying until it blocks off flow from the heart in the lungs. This is not something that can be heard with a stethoscope and requires a blood test.

Every year I see pets die of these preventable diseases. I understand not wanting to put something "unnatural" in or on your pet, but dying of these diseases is "natural" and I personally don't want my dog to succumb to them. If I could take some of the preventative medication my dog takes, I would. There are lots of products that exist to prevent flea, tick, and mosquitoes from infecting your pet. Talk to your vet about which one might be right for yours.


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