Fleas are small brown or black wingless insects that feed on the blood of dogs and cats and in some cases even humans. These insects cause considerable irritation and distress to pets. Severe infestations may lead to anemia from blood loss. It is important to note that a flea can transmit tapeworms if ingested by a dog or cat.
Ticks are wingless arthropods that can live for 4 or more years. They feed primarily in the spring and fall but can be found attached to you or your pet any time of the year. If they feed for very long they often cause a red, raised and often painful area on the skin. Some diseases such as Lyme disease are transmitted only after the tick feeds for 24-48 hours. Other diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erlichiosis, Anaplasmosis and Babesia may be instantly transmitted once a tick has attached.
Many products exist that are highly effective and safe for eliminating fleas and ticks on cats and dogs. The following is a list of products sold at and recommended by Timberview Veterinary Hospital:
Credelio (for dogs only) kills fleas and ticks and is effective for 30 days
Canine Advantix II (for dogs only) repels and kills ticks, fleas and mosquitoes for one month
Revolution (for both dogs and cats) kills adult fleas and various other parasites for one month
Seresto Collar (for both cats and dogs) kills adult fleas, flea larvae and ticks for 8 months
Treatment of the environment is an important step in controlling a flea infestation. We recommend vacuuming the house several times and keeping lawns mowed can reduce tick and flea exposure. In order to break a flea infestation it is highly recommended that all pets in the home be treated with a flea prevention for a minimum of 3 consecutive months.