You see the telltale signs of small black specks (flea dirt) on your pet’s skin. Perhaps your pet is scratching all over like crazy. Or maybe you are actually seeing the jumpy little buggers. Your pet has fleas, so now what?
STEP 1: Put ALL furry pets in your household on a QUALITY flea preventative IMMEDIATELY.
Let’s face it, there are lots of choices out there when it comes to flea preventatives, but what really works? For dogs, we recommend using Nexgard®, a chewable once-monthly tablet. For cats, we recommend Revolution®, which is a once-monthly topical treatment. For other furry pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, etc.) please call for recommendations. We do carry these products, which are all by prescription only. Please note that these treatments need to continue for at least 3 consecutive months or more, to break the flea life cycle.
STEP 2: Clean, clean, clean, and clean some more!
This step is more about killing and removing what you can’t see; flea eggs and larvae. Fleas love to lay eggs in carpet and upholstery, which can “hibernate” until an appropriate time to hatch and are invisible to the naked eye. They will then hatch and re-infest your pet, so this is a VERY important step. Wash all bedding, curtains, towels, rugs, dog/cat beds, or anything your pet comes in contact with that can be washed in the hottest water allowed and dry on the hottest setting allowed by that item.
Mop any hard surface floors frequently. Thoroughly vacuum every carpeted surface, including under couches, beds, desks, along all floorboards, all sides of couch cushions, etc. Throw away the vacuum bag in a well-sealed bag after each use. This deep cleaning needs to be done at least once a month for the next three months. You can also use carpet/upholstery flea killer spray, such as Mycodex Plus Environmental Spray® to speed up the process, which we also have available.
STEP 3: Future Prevention.
Now that you have your pet’s flea infestation under control, it’s time to keep it under control! Or better yet, just avoid the problem to start with! From at least April – November every year, your pet needs to be on a monthly flea preventative.
Please be aware that if we have a warm spell in March or nice weather continues into December, you should make sure your pet has adequate protection. Have more flea questions? Call us at 920-435-5000 for more information.
If your pet as a small, smooth, dark, gray or brown colored lump similar to a skin tag, he might have an embedded tick! (Tip: only the head portion of the tick is embedded, and the body of the tick remains outside.)
While ticks are more common in wooded, grassy, or highly vegetated areas, they are not uncommon in urban or suburban yards. Here is what you should do if you find an embedded tick on your pet, particularly if this is the first time.
STEP 1: Set up an appointment.
We will do an exam, remove the tick, and look for others. Our vets will discuss Lyme disease and other common tick born diseases, and determine if your pet’s lifestyle would suggest starting the Lyme vaccine series.
Tick related illnesses are on the rise, and we have seen a spike in the last year. We will also review your pet’s tick preventative program, and make suggestions. Please give us a call at 920-435-5000 to set up your appointment.
STEP 2: Prevent, prevent, prevent!
For dogs, thankfully the same product that is used to kill fleas, Nexgard®, will also kill ticks. It is a by prescription, chewable, once-monthly tablet that should be given from April – November, again with the same possibility that a dose in March or December will be needed, based on what kind of above-freezing weather we are having.
Year-round prevention is recommended for dogs that travel, and even for those that don’t to protect against those sudden winter thaws that bring out the bugs early.
My pet has – thick fur/only goes outside in our fenced yard/doesn’t interact with other pets/only spends 10 minutes a day outside – he can’t get those, can he? Any pet that goes outdoors during warmer weather, even if only for a few minutes a day, can be bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworms.
Heartworms are different from other common parasites in that they live in the heart, and their larvae live in the blood stream, instead of infesting the intestinal tract. When an infected mosquito (i.e. one who has bitten an infected dog) bites your pet, it passes on heartworm larvae.
Unfortunately thick fur doesn’t stop a bite on the nose, a fence won’t stop a flying mosquito, mosquitoes will find any dog in your neighborhood, and when they see a meal, they go for it immediately. Dogs, and other related species (wolf, coyote, etc) are natural hosts for heartworms, but cats can also get heartworm infections.
Don’t worry, humans are not the preferred host, and heartworms in people are rare. So what’s a pet owner to do?
STEP 1: PREVENT!
All cats and dogs that go outside should be protected with a quality preventative. For cats, the same product that kills fleas ALSO kills heartworms. Revolution®, a by prescription once-monthly topical, also treats ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms.
For dogs, we recommend using Heartgard®, which is a by prescription once monthly chewable tablet. It also treats roundworms and hookworms.
STEP 2: Yearly testing (dogs only). Keep your dog’s heartworm test up to date. Yes, that’s even important for those pets on year-round prevention. No preventative is 100% effective 100% of the time for 100% of all pets. There are several reasons for this, which is beyond the scope of this page, though our vets will be happy to explain if you wish. Early detection is key to successful treatment of canine heartworms.
The longer they go undetected, the more difficult the treatment, and the worse it is for your dog. To set up a heartworm test, please call us at 920-435-5000.
STEP 3: Keep going!
For best preventative protection, we recommend maintaining your pet on a heartworm preventative year-round. This is especially important for pets that come from southern states, and for those “snowbird” dogs. Even if your pup never leaves town, the best practice is to maintain year-round protection, not only for the heartworm prevention, but to keep roundworms and hookworms (which will infect people as well!) at bay.
At a bare minimum, your pet should be on a heartworm preventative once a month from April through November, and possibly earlier or later depending on what kind of warm weather we are experiencing.
NOTE ABOUT CATS AND HEARTWORMS: For cats, there are no treatments available once the heartworms become adults. Consistent and diligent prevention is the only option.
For unprotected cats, heartworms often create an immune overreaction that in many cases causes the sudden death of the cat. Some cats have gradually worsening breathing issues that also lead to death.
Cats and heartworms are just all-around bad news, so keep those outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats safe and use Revolution®!
SAVE MONEY! Ask about our fantastic rebate options for Heartgard® and Nexgard®! Please call 920-435-5000 for pricing and rebate information. We want to help YOU save money! Learn more about us!