Parasite Prevention Saves Lives

May 16, 2014

If you live in a tropical climate as I do, flea and tick preventatives for your pets are a year-around purchase.  Even though we may actually have one or two nights with temperatures at or below freezing, that isn’t enough to kill off the population of the blood-sucking critters.  It takes a really hard freeze to do that job.

Finding a safe, effective deterrent for fleas and ticks is a trial and error process for pet owners.  The difficulty is finding the least toxic product that actually works.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigated the “spot-on” form of flea and tick preventatives over several years after receiving numerous reports of illness and death in dogs that had used the products.  The EPA report issued in 2010 said that small dogs weighing under 20 lbs were most likely to suffer adverse reactions to the spot-on products.   Many veterinarians stopped using Revolution® for their canine clients but after the addition of extra warnings on the labels, the spot-ons in general were considered safe and acceptable.

My dogs are large and had been using spot-on preventatives for quite some time, so I decided to continue using the same product.  If my dogs were small, I might choose a different one.  Always discuss the choice with your veterinarian before using any product containing chemicals on your pets.

A few months after moving to Florida in 2001, we took our Great Dane to a new veterinarian for his annual vaccinations.  I was horrified when the man found a bunch of little ticks (I call them “seed ticks.”) on Coby’s paws.  They were really tiny and hidden between his toes.  I had mistakenly assumed that the preventative we were using on the dog would keep the ticks away, because it had worked fine when we lived in Tennessee.  Sometimes, what works in one part of the country (or world), won’t work so well in another.

Heartworms are a killer for dogs.  It is far better to protect your pet now and prevent him from becoming a deadly statistic.  The worm thrives in the lungs and heart of dogs and cats.  A mosquito can transmit the heartworm larvae to an animal after biting an infected one.

The worms grow and multiply in the dog over months or years.  A veterinarian uses a blood test to diagnose the disease.  Treatment is expensive and if the disease is advanced, it might not be enough to save the animal.

Prevention is safe and not expensive.  The medication is available in both pills and chewable options, but they must be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.  My dogs get Heartguard™ chewables once a month, year around.  In some climates the temperatures may be cold enough in the winter to cease treatment until warmer weather arrives.  Again, your vet is the expert.

Examine your pet frequently for external parasites.  Inspect his paws and ears carefully.  Choose the flea and tick preventative that you and your veterinarian believe is best for your dog or cat.

These products are often sold in packs of three or six months doses, which may seem expensive until you divide into months.  Bargains can be found, if you shop around.  After much research, several years ago Jim and I chose to buy many of our pets’ supplies, including parasite preventatives, from PetCareRx.  Check their prices here.

Should you also choose to purchase from PetCareRx, we appreciate you accessing their website through the links here.  We chose this company as an affiliate, because we trust them and have been pleased with their service.  Commissions made through sales by them will benefit Seniors for Pets, Inc. (www.seniorsforpets.com)

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