Along with relaxation and fun, the summer season also has many pitfalls, especially for those who are more fragile such as the elderly, children and, why not, even for our pets, who cannot communicate with words sensations such as pain, discomfort or heat. And it is precisely during the summer that the risks associated with the climate and (our) difficulty in immediately understanding that something is wrong increase. We think, in particular, of the attack of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, parasites that affect dogs and cats, weakening them and transmitting to them, in some cases, even serious diseases.
In order to understand what problems can derive from these parasites, how they act and identify an effective method to remove ticks from dogs and cats we met the Veterinary Doctor Dr. Bartolomeo Borgarello of the Borgarello Veterinary Clinic.
Fleas, Ticks And Mosquitoes: Why Are They A Problem?
Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are the three types of external parasites that affect dogs and cats most common in Italy and therefore often complicate the lives of their owners because they can actually give real problems to animals: some, in fact, attach themselves to the animal by feeding on its blood, others are dangerous because they transmit diseases. Let’s see specifically what their characteristics are, how to recognize them and how to protect dogs and cats.
During the hot season that generally goes from April to November, the possibility increases that ticks, the most known and feared parasites, attack our four-legged friend to feed on his blood. In the course of life, in fact, each tick has the need to perform several mutations: in order for this to be possible, it must “climb” on a living being to be able to feed on its blood. It happens more often in dogs than in cats, but this depends mainly on the context in which the animals live.
As soon as attached to the skin, usually on the base of the neck or on the chest, the ticks are very small and swell, in a short time, feeding. In the meantime, it is good to underline it, they do not harm the animal as, in order to remain sticky, they employ an anaesthetic substance.
Even if, therefore, in the immediate time there do not seem to be signs of the presence of the parasite, the real danger is that of transmitting diseases, even serious ones. Among the most frequent there is the piroplasmosis, which can cause anaemia in the dog, dangerous because the tick could transmit it also to man.
Although, as we have said, ticks are the most serious problem among dog and cat owners, we must not underestimate the consequences of an attack by fleas and mosquitoes. The former, in fact, lurk everywhere and threaten the health of pets throughout the year. They can cause damage to both dogs and cats, especially to some particularly sensitive individuals and, moreover, if ingested, they can transmit serious diseases such as tapeworm, dipilidium. If we notice the presence of portions of the parasite similar to white rice grains in the faeces or on the hair around the anal region, we are faced with a symptom of the disease and it is necessary to intervene promptly, either by consulting your vet for the worm problem, or by eliminating the fleas from our animal with an appropriate treatment.
In the past, when evaluating the strategies to be implemented to protect the health of dogs and cats in summer, they tended to exclude the risks connected with mosquito bites, “an error”, as Dr. Borgarello points out, “because they hide many dangers. In fact, they can transmit cardiopulmonary filariasis and lesmanosis, diseases that can also be very serious, difficult to treat and against which it is essential to implement a careful and constant prevention strategy”.
How To Remove Ticks?
There are various methods, typical of popular tradition, to remove ticks from dogs and cats, in particular by soaking them in alcohol or oil. The vet, however, advises against using these remedies because alcohol increases the possibility that the tick will regurgitate the absorbed blood, increasing the risk of disease transmission, while oil is ineffective because ticks can survive dipped in oil for several hours.
Effective and safe alternatives, however, are:
- Apply two drops of the pesticide spot on (or spray) on the tick, used monthly as a preventive measure;
- Go directly to your vet for removal.
It is, in fact, a delicate procedure: if the tick is not removed carefully it is possible that portions of the head of the parasite remain on the skin causing infection.
Dogs And Cats In Summer: Prevention And Advice
In addition to learning how to recognize and remove ticks from dogs and cats, it is essential to reiterate what are the most effective prevention strategies to prevent parasites from taking root and transmitting diseases to our pets.
In general, it is important to consult with your vet and choose which treatment to give your dog or cat based on the context in which it lives, the season, the predisposition of each subject.
There are three different categories of products that can be used and can be recommended:
- Pesticide collars;
- Spot-on vials;
- Tablet formulations.
Regardless of the type of treatment chosen, let’s not forget that against fleas it is necessary to act all year round, while mosquitoes, phlebotomes and ticks are typical of the summer period, so much so that some products vary seasonally. Moreover, Dr. Borgarello still remembers, let’s pay attention to the instructions of the pesticides: some, in fact, are good for dogs and are toxic for cats.
As every person who has adopted a pet knows well, establishing a relationship of trust with a vet is fundamental. A guarantee, from this point of view, is that offered by a health insurance tailored to dogs and cats like Doctor Pet. Among the benefits included is a free visit in case of accident or illness and services at reduced prices at all the facilities that have an agreement. A useful support also in case of fleas, mosquitoes and other parasites, as well as valuable to understand how to remove ticks on your dog or cat. Did you know the methods we proposed?