Common Flea and Tick Questions Answered

People may be practicing safe social distancing this spring, but fleas and ticks will not. That means pets will once again be exposed to the risk of tapeworm, Lyme disease, and other flea- and tick-borne diseases.

To help your pet avoid these risks, here are some answers to some common flea and tick questions:

How do ticks get onto a pet?
Ticks cannot jump like fleas or fly. Instead, they crawl to the tips of grasses and shrubs where they wait until a moving animal (or person) brushes past, then let go of the vegetation and climb onto a host. This is known as “questing”.

When do ticks become active?
Ticks begin seeking a blood meal (or “questing”) when temperatures rise above 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit).

When do fleas become active?
Fleas are active all year round. Fleas thrive in warm, humid environments. While cold weather typically slows flea activity, your home provides an ideal environment for fleas to thrive in the colder months.

What kind of illnesses can fleas and/or ticks cause?
Fleas and ticks can transmit many infectious diseases when they take a blood meal from either pets or people.

The most common flea of North America can transmit murine typhus, flea-borne spotted fever, cat-scratch disease (bartonellosis), and flea tapeworms. Other flea species can transmit salmonellosis, plague, rodent tapeworm, murine trypanosomiasis, and dwarf tapeworm. Fleas in general can transmit hemoplasmosis and tularemia.

Each tick species is known to transmit specific infectious diseases, including but not limited to the following: Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rickettsiosis, tularemia, cytauxzoonosis, and hepatozoonosis.

What are the different kinds of flea and tick prevention?
There are many over-the-counter and prescription products on the market. Some are stand-alone products, and some are in combination with other treatments/medications. Some are applied to the skin, some are worn as a collar, and some are given by mouth (orally). Some are given daily, some are given monthly, and some can last for several months.

Depending on your lifestyle, your pet’s lifestyle, and your needs and preferences, we can help you choose a product that works best for you and your pet.

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