Flea and ticks are two major external parasites in dogs and cats which feed on animal’s blood and cause many health issues in them. These contagious parasites are a major causing factor of skin disease in dogs and other pets also. Along with skin disease, they are also involved in causing many allergic reactions. Ticks and flea can also be a vector of disease which means they harbor pathogenic organisms and transfer those disease-causing agents to animals ultimately lead to the development of the disease. There are many types of fleas and ticks which feed on the blood of pets because the warmth under the furs of companion animals provide optimal condition to these parasites.
Difference between Tick and Flea
Fleas are fly-shaped parasites and can jump up to two feet. Moreover, fleas bite on different areas of the skin of animals while sucking the animal’s blood. Ticks, on the other hand, are almost 2 to 4 times bigger than fleas and they can’t jump or fly. Ticks insert their suckers into the skin of an animal and suck blood. Unlike fleas, ticks stay on the same spot of the skin and spend all the stages of the life cycle on the same point.
Ticks and Flea Symptoms
There are some indications which warn the pet owner. Symptoms of ticks and Fleas include
- Excessive Scratching
- Scabs on skin
- Pale gums
- Itchy skin
- Hair loss
Usually, the presence of flea or tick in pets can be noticed with excessive scratching. Pets feel itchy and uncomfortable on getting ticks and fleas on their coat. Due to itchiness, they scratch their skin frequently. Scabs and bald patches can also be seen on the furry coat od pet. Moreover, due to a higher degree of the infestation, red blood cell count can decline, and you can notice the gums of your pet turning pale in colour.
How your pet can get Fleas and Ticks?
Flea and ticks can survive over the years in the environment. Most of the times they reproduce and spread rapidly in the summer season when warmth and humidity support their breeding. Your pet can get flea and ticks from outdoor. Dogs can get ticks while playing in humid backyards or gardens. If your dog has friends outside your home, he can get ticks and fleas from them as these parasites are contagious. Unfortunately, ticks and fleas lay millions of eggs in a very short period for the survival of their species. Your pet can get these eggs from grassy lawns, gardens or playgrounds and hence even from carpets inside the house where the previous generation has laid eggs.
The Complication Caused by Ticks and Fleas in Pets
When fleas and ticks suck the blood of pets, the red blood cell count decreases due to blood loss. The decrease in RBC count is simply called anaemia. There are many other causes of anaemia and fleas and ticks is one of them.
Particularly fleas have allergens in their saliva and inject this into the animal’s skin on biting. The immune system starts a reaction in response to allergens in the skin and a series of chemical reactions start. The whole process results in itchiness and allergy. It sometimes leads to inflammation.
Ticks sometimes secrete toxins into the skin of your pet or maybe in the bloodstream. These toxins have the potential to weaken the muscles or even paralyze the muscles.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection affecting dogs, cats, humans, and other mammals. Deer tick act as a vector to transmit bacteria among animals. So, ticks can transmit the disease to your pet.
Fleas and ticks are the major cause of skin problems in pets. You can see scabs and hairless patches in case of flea or tick infestation in your pets.
If a disease can transmit from one specie to others such as from pets to pet’s owner it can be called as a zoonotic disease. The process of transmission is called zoonosis. Fleas and ticks can act as a vector for zoonotic diseases which can transmit from pets to owners. These parasites are also contagious and can cause health problems in humans also by biting.
Ticks and Fleas Treatment
There are ways to fleas and ticks treatment.
Consult a vet for diagnosis and medication for the presence of fleas. Flea and ticks medicine for dogs may include topical treatments and flea and tick pills for dogs. Various products are in markets like shampoos, powders, and pesticide spray.
You can remove ticks but be careful any contact with the blood can transmit disease. To remove the ticks,
First of all, take safety measures by putting gloves on hands
Then, remove the tick with the help of tweezers by capturing it near the pet’s skin (don’t press the belly of the tick because it will release blood). In the end, disinfect the skin and instruments and wash your hands.
How to Prevent Ticks and Fleas in Dogs and Cats?
- Look you for ticks and fleas as these parasites are visible
- Use tick comb once in a week
- Use shampoo and spray products to prevent external parasites
- Keep your pet clean and healthy
- Vaccinate your dogs and cats against Lyme disease
Hammad Ali is pursuing his carrier in veterinary medicine and loves to write about pets and animals. Being a veterinary professional and freelance writer, he spends most of his time with pet parents and top-notch veterinary professionals debating pet’s lifestyle. After thorough research, he provides practical science-based informative tips to his audience for making their pet lives cheerful. Besides that, you can also find him in a library or backyard with a cup of tea.