Detecting Tick and Flea Bite Dermatitis
Ticks and fleas are the most common external parasites in dogs and cats worldwide. These parasites feed on the blood of their host and can cause irritating bites transmitting various diseases to your pets.
Animal fur provides a suitable environment for fleas and ticks to live. Both ticks and fleas can thrive in warmer months, but ticks can also adapt to survive in cold weather.
Despite the similarities, these two vastly different parasites can carry various diseases that affect your pets. Here is how you can detect and determine tick and flea bite dermatitis.
Detecting Tick Bite Dermatitis
Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of animals like cats, dogs, and rats. Tick bites are often harmless. However, tick bites can cause allergic reactions, and some can even pass diseases on to humans and animals. Ticks inject an anesthetic into the skin at its point of entry, resulting in a painless tick bite. Ticks also burrow their head under the skin after one bite, feeding on their host for up to 10 days.
Identifying ticks in long-furred animals is difficult but possible. Ticks can grow up to 3-5 mm in length depending on sex, species, and fullness.
Tick bites will leave a small red bump on the site of the sting. Tick bites usually go away on their own in a few days. Animals infected with ticks will experience the following tick-borne illness symptoms:
– Chewing and licking the infected area
– Fever/ chills
– Aches and pains
When left untreated, ticks can spread diseases that might endanger your pet and compromise their health. Several infections can occur from these bites are:
– Subclinical Ehrlichiosis
– Acute Ehrlichiosis
– Clinical Ehrlichiosis
– Rocky Mountain spotted fever
– Lyme Disease
Detecting Flea Bite Dermatitis
Fleas are more common among cats and dogs. They are wingless, traveling from host to host by jumping. Detecting flea bites is crucial as there could be areas in the skin that may need treatment. Flea infestation usually causes unsightly skin irritations on pets.
When a flea bites its host, its saliva makes contact with the skin of its host, causing itchy and red bumps on the skin called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).
The most effective way to determine whether your pets have flea allergy dermatitis is through a physical examination. Fleas may be difficult to locate, and they frequent the neck and chest area of cats and dogs. Veterinarians can look for flea feces instead to determine if there is an infestation.
This skin disease can result in extreme discomfort for pets and even cause painful infected skin lesions, uncontrollable itching, and dry skin.
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Treatment and Prevention
Preventing and treating tick and flea infestation is not an easy task. Most home remedies will not altogether remove the parasite. Protecting your pets from ticks and fleas is vital to keeping your home clean. You can also ask your veterinarian to administer anti-tick and flea medications like Virbac’s Effipro Topical Pet Spray. This topical spray provides three months of protection against fleas and a month of anti-tick protection for your pets.
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