Fleas are a common household nuisance for pet owners. These flat, brownish arthropods live between coarse hairs of your pets fur and making life uncomfortable. Not only do they make our skin crawl but they pose a risk to both you and your pet and for every flea you see there are dozens you don’t, all laying hundreds of eggs a day. As well as itching and scratching, fleas are known to cause allergic reactions, transmit diseases and if left untreated lead to serious complications.
Identifying fleas can be done at home with a flea comb, combing top to bottom paying particular attention to the lower back, often called the ‘flea zone’. Even if you don’t find a flea, you can identify their presence by ‘flea dirt’, dark flakes of flea faeces. Once a you’ve found the fleas, everyone is looking for a quick fix to evict these unwanted parasites. Unfortunately because fleas have a changing life cycle it’s very hard to eradicate fleas at once. While our doctors can recommend an effective method to take care of your pet, they can also advise on cleaning and hygiene to prevent them coming back!
Mites are microscopic pests that burrow beneath the skin. They often live peacefully with your pet but sometimes the careful balance between the two is disturbed, leading to very itchy mange. There are two major kinds of mites; ear mites which live in the soft folds of the ear and canine scabies, which live between folds of skin and hair follicles but may cause widespread infection and hair loss. Both burrow beneath the delicate skin, causing irritation, scratching and dust flake. These open lesions often lead to a dangerous infection, and need immediate treatment to prevent major health problems.
The last prominent external parasite of the Markham area are ticks, whose range have spread in recent years with global warming. As our families become more active in the outdoors so do they, living in tall grass and wooded areas and clinging to any passing heat sources to feed on blood. While removing a tick can be quite simple, as there is the transmission of blood there can always be complications including paralysis, tick fever and disease which need immediate treatment.
Ticks also transmit lyme disease. Lyme disease symptoms include fever, rashes, aching muscles and joints which have long lasting effects on your pet’s quality of life. Fortunately prevention is better than a cure and lyme vaccines are available at our clinic for your outdoors adventures.
If any of these parasites are causing you concerns, contact the 16th Avenue Animal Hospital, your vet in Markham today for an appointment on 905-554-7210