Well, Spring is here, and that means its time for flea and tick upkeep. Now each dog or cat is different as to what they tolerate for prevention methods. Some people only apply the topical version and some like to use a collar. The topical version, unfortunately, is required to be applied to your pet each month; whereas a collar can be worn with a limited lifespan of about two to three months, depending on the brand. But, our good friends at Bayer, have come up with a new collar, called Seresto. This collar lasts up to eight months (which to some is the usual time the flea and tick season lasts) and it can even work after swimming (as long as the dog doesn’t swim more than twice a month). Now we at The Dog House usually don’t promote flea and tick medications, just because people and pets have different views and possible allergies, but we figured that this collar just makes sense.
Fleas and ticks can transmit the following harmful diseases to your pet:
- Anaplasmosis — Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It was previously known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) and has more recently been called human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans from your pet by tick bites, primarily from the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Of the four distinct phases in the tick life-cycle (egg, larvae, nymph, adult), nymphal and adult ticks are most frequently associated with transmission of anaplasmosis to humans. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks of a tick bite.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever – Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. This organism is a cause of potentially fatal human illness in North and South America, and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected tick species. In the United States, these include the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain. A rash may also develop, but is often absent in the first few days, and in some patients, never develops. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be a severe or even fatal illness if not treated in the first few days of symptoms.
- Ehrlichiosis — Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. Human ehrlichiosisis a disease caused by at least three different ehrlichial species in the United States: Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, and a third Ehrlichia species provisionally called Ehrlichia muris-like (EML). Ehrlichiae are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is the primary vector of both Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii in the United States. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks following a tick bite.
- Lyme disease – ( Most Common in Massachusetts ) –Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.
- Cytauxzoonosis – Cytauxzoonosis is a disease of cats only. It cannot spread to people or any other non-felid animal. In fact, in cannot even be spread directly from cat to cat. The causative agent, a protozoan called Cytauxzoon felis, is transmitted via the bites of infected ticks. Bobcats are the reservoir host. Studies have shown that as many as 50 percent of bobcats may be carriers, but they typically develop few symptoms of disease. A tick can pick up the protozoa from any infected cat and pass it on via subsequent bites to other cats. Cats that spend time outdoors in the South Central and Southeastern United States are at greatest risk for cytauxzoonosis. Cytauxzoon felis attacks red blood cells and tissues throughout the body, which incites a massive immune response. The disease presents in two different forms. Acutely infected cats are very, very sick. Clinical signs typically consist of some combination of the following:
- loss of appetite
- abnormally pale or yellow mucous membranes
- increased respiratory rate and effort
- enlarged lymph nodes
Many cats die within a week or two of developing symptoms, even with the traditional treatment protocol of supportive care (e.g., intravenous fluids, heparin, and blood transfusions) and imidocarb, an anti-protozoal drug. Those that do survive can become chronic carriers. They are seemingly healthy, but can serve as a reservoir for the disease.
Most people don’t even realize that their pet is infected until they start to show symptoms, which is why prevention is so important throughout the year. Even though some people only use the prevention from spring until fall, your pets can still get infected even in winter. I, personally, treat my dog year-round, and will most likely be switching over to this new collar. For more product information we would suggest you go here.