Spring is on its way and as the weather teases us with a few nice days, everyone is anxious to get out and enjoy the sunny days. In preparation for the warmer weather, I wanted to add a few things to your list to do for your pets.
Of course, first thing on the list has to be parasite prevention. Flea control is very important as the weather starts to warm up. Fleas love the warm and humid weather, and even though there were very cold periods, I saw a lot of people still struggling with fleas throughout the winter. If you have stopped flea control during the winter, I recommend you seriously consider starting flea control now to prevent infestation in your home. If you wait to see fleas on your pet, it’s too late, the immature fleas have already set up shop in your carpet, furniture and everywhere else in your home. As I always say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when we are talking about fleas.
Depending on your pet’s lifestyle and exposure, other parasites can also be a concern. Heartworm is not a problem if your pet never leaves Western Washington, but if you travel with your pet, you should always check with your veterinarian and see if you are going to an area where it is necessary to have your dog on heartworm preventative. If you take your dog to dog parks, or your cat goes outdoors, or you have wildlife coming onto your property, there is a concern about intestinal parasites. There is a common misconception that you will see worms in your pet’s feces, but we will catch the infestation much sooner when looking for eggs microscopically. If you wait until you see adult worms passing, it means the worms are dying, either from a deworming dose or because there isn’t room for any more worms. Yuck. We recommend annual fecal testing and have a positive rate of 19.7%. That means one out of every five pets we test is positive for some kind of intestinal parasite. Many of the parasites can be prevented using a monthly product that deworms, such as Sentinel for dogs and Revolution for cats.
We don’t see many ticks but pets that live near wooded areas or go camping and hiking with their owners are at risk (along with the owners.) Ticks can carry disease, one of the most notable being Lyme disease, but at this time, Lyme disease is very rare in Washington State, it is more a problem on the East Coast. Ticks are most active in the spring and fall and it is appropriate to use a preventative if your pet is going to be in an area of possible exposure. There are many treatment options that prevent and kill ticks. Use a name brand product that has been proven, check with your vet for their recommendation. If you find a tick on your pet, there is a right way and a wrong way to remove a tick. The CDC has a good explanation on their website, I have placed a link on our Facebook page. PLEASE do not use remedies such as smothering the tick with petroleum jelly or burning the tick (and your pet!) These methods don’t work and might injure you or your pet.
Lastly, I will mention with Easter approaching, keep the chocolate away from your dogs and if you have cats, DO NOT bring Easter Lilies into your home, they are VERY toxic.
I am excited to sponsor the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market again this year. I’ll be hanging out at a booth a couple Saturdays this summer and look forward to chatting with the Market goers again. As usual, if you have any questions, feel free to contact via our website, wildernessvet.com, Facebook or me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.