Fleas, Ticks and the Diseases They Cause

When we got Scooter he was covered in fleas.  You could just watch them jump all over.  As the picture shows, he was a mess, had not been groomed ever.  We tried washing him with flea shampoo, flea powder and a flea collar.  It didn’t seem to help.  I had made an appointment with Boo’s groomer before we got him.  We took him in and told her that hew was infested.  Like I said before,  He was a mess.

How a Flea Looks

How a Flea Looks

When they were done and they brought him out I didn’t even realize that it was him.  While we had them out we sprayed the house.  We brought them home we thought we were all set.  Not so.  I started to get bitten too.

We took Scooter – full name is Mr. Scooter Binks – to the vet for his first checkup and shots.  He suggested getting an exterminator.  Scooter went back to the groomer and the exterminator came.  This made things better, but not perfect.  We had to have the exterminator come back.

The life cycle goes from egg to larvae to pupae.  This can take from two days to two weeks.  This cycle has to be broken.  Fleas can cause discomfort and allergic reactions.  If the dog eats the fleas while trying to stop the itching they can get tapeworms.

We bought topical liquid that you apply once a month.  Boy, they didn’t like that at all.  It must have burnt them.  It was supposed to stop ticks too.  We live close to the beach and bike path.  We would take long walks and cut through some side path to a small inlet.  We were still finding an occasional tick that hadn’t gotten to his skin.

At one time my mother had a collie.  We lived on over three acres if woods and he would go exploring and come back loaded with ticks.  This was before the liquid repellent.  She would spend at least an hour taking off from between his toes and under his coat.  She had a bottle of liquid she would put them in, or she would burn them.  This was before Lyme disease was discovered.

ticks

From the CDC

My kids would go and stay so my mom could go and visit her mother in Ohio.  She had some flocked wall paper and heavy drapes.  So I go up one morning and the house was totally covered in baby ticks.  It was like a horror movie.  They were on the floor, walls and in the curtains.  I got the vacuum, put a clean bag in and stated vacuuming them up.  It took forever.  I emptied the bag into my mother’s quart jar with tick killer!  I called her and told her what had happened and she didn’t believe me.  The jar was full of ticks.  She believed me after she got home and saw it.

Lets get back to the present.  Now we have Lyme Disease mostly in New England. It’s caused by a bacteria.  Dogs can get it.  It’s called Lyme because the first known cases were in Lyme, CT.   It is caused by deer ticks.  These ticks are so small they are hard to see.  The symptoms, in people, are a red circular rash, fever, headache and fatigue   Not everybody gets a rash or it can be somewhere you wouldn’t notice.  If caught early it can treated with antibiotics.  If not caught you can end up with heart, brain and nerve problems.  It feels like you have bad arthritis.

Signs in dogs include lameness, lack of appetite and depression.  If not caught in time it can cause kidney disease.  More rarely is heart or nerve damage.  Dogs can become sensitive to touch and difficulty breathing.

Treatment is antibiotics for four weeks or even longer.  It doesn’t always work.  Your vet can  also suggest an anti-inflammatory if your dog is uncomfortable.

Prevention is best.  We no longer use drops and have been using Seresto on our dogs and a cat for four years.  It is a wonderful product, although there have been some reports of seizures.  We haven’t had a problem.

soresto

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2 thoughts on “Fleas, Ticks and the Diseases They Cause

  1. Kenzie

    Wow, I didn’t realize how hard it could to be stop the cycle with fleas. As a child I had a collie as well and the ticks just loved her… If I had had access to your site then we maybe could have prevented a lot of fleas and ticks and made our lives easier!

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