Let’s Talk Fleas and Ticks
Almost every pet owner has had experience with fleas and ticks at least once during their pet’s life. These parasitic pests are not just a disgusting nuisance; they actually carry diseases that can make your pet very sick.
Let’s Talk Ticks…in Southeastern Wisconsin, we are subject to two main tick species—Dog (Wood) Tick and Deer Tick. Both of these tick parasites carry bacterial diseases that infect people and animals. In recent years, due largely to human travel, another invasive tick species, the Lone Star Tick, has started to spread through the state, though it is less commonly seen.
- Dog (Wood) Ticks—these ticks are typically larger in size and can turn a grey/green color when engorged. Although they do not carry Lyme Disease, they still carry other infectious bacterial diseases that are just as serious.
- Deer Ticks—our main carriers of Lyme Disease and quite frequently found in heavily wooded areas where wildlife, specifically deer, are present. They are much smaller than any other tick found in this area and therefore commonly missed.
- Lone Star Tick—identified by a white dot on the back, but rarely seen in this area.
Removal of ticks should be done with care so nothing of the tick is accidently left embedded in the pet. NEVER use an open flame near your pet! Do not touch the tick with your fingers. Using a tick removal tool or pair of tweezers, follow these steps:
1.) Soak the tick with rubbing alcohol and wait a few minutes.
Grip the tick at the base of its head where it meets the body.
2.) Twist gently until the tick becomes stressed enough to “back out” of the skin.
3.) Clean with dilute hydrogen peroxide and monitor for infection.
4.) If it is a Deer Tick, or you are unsure, consider checking for Lyme Disease 4-6 weeks later.
Within a matter of days, an adult flea can lay hundreds of eggs. It takes 21 days for those eggs to grow through their lifecycle and become adults themselves. In their pupae stage, fleas can actually stay cocooned for weeks, months, even years given the right conditions, which makes these pests a year-round concern.
- Flea bites can lead to diseases like Flea Allergy Dermatitis, Anemia, Tapeworms, and Rickettsiosis.
- Fleas prefer to live on animals, but they will bite people too.
- Fleas like to burrow down into the carpets and couches, so be sure to vacuum daily and wash bedding if your pet is experiencing a flea issue.
This perpetual cycle can only be stopped by use of a flea preventative every 30 days, whether natural or traditional. Most natural flea remedies consist of essential oils, but they are not strong enough if there is an actual infestation. In these cases, you need to treat your house, along with every pet with products like Frontline or Nexgard. Fleas prefer to live on animals, though they will bite people in the right conditions.
To treat fleas and tick issues and prevent future infestations, we recommend the use of Frontline Gold or Nexgard for dogs every 30 days. For cats, we recommend a dose of Revolution applied topically every 30 days. If you prefer to use a natural alternative, there are several herbal sprays available in specialty stores, or consider the use of an essential oil. Essential oils should always be used with respect for the animal. Some essential oils can be irritating, so please consult our office if you are interested in learning more.