One of the most common and important treatments in the routine care of dogs and cats, is flea and tick control, and rightly so; These two little parasites can do quite a bit of damage to our furry friends. Ticks can transmit serious diseases in both dogs and cats, and fleas – in addition to being horribly bothersome and itchy, can cause various skin problems, intestinal worms and provoke severe reactions in allergic dogs.
What all the ticks have in common is that they are external parasites that feed on their host blood. There are several species of ticks in the country, but the most common is the brown tick. Its uniqueness is that it can also reproduce in a home environment compared to other species that must reproduce in nature – on plants and the like.
The tick is waiting for a potential host on shrubs but also on the ground or – if she is already at home – on suitable furniture. On the pet she will usually get up by climbing on the leg or “jumping” into his fur. The tick gets on the host, bites it while using a kind of local anesthetic and then clings to blood vessels and feeds on it. There is a preference for the ear and neck area but ticks can also be found elsewhere in the body. After the meal is over, and in ticks it sometimes lasts a few days, the tick leaves the host and turns to the rest of her life – the culture, on another host or waiting for the next meal. Only dogs have ticks, right? Not true. The common brown tick does indeed prefer to live on dogs and is therefore more common on dogs but is “willing” to live on other animals as well. It can also be found on cats and other pets, on various farm animals, in many wildlife and even on humans in rare cases.
Fleas are parasitic insects that are unable to fly but compensate for this, unfortunately for those who suffer from them, with an amazing jumping ability – they bounce quickly, over long distances and high altitudes (relative to their body size, up to 200 times its length!) Their body structure allows them to level through the fur hairs to find a suitable place to live. They feed on the surrogate’s blood for one meal a day, usually. Fleas lay eggs not on their host but in their place of residence – a den or, in our house, on and inside sofas, in the place of the dog or cat’s lair and so on. The larvae need moisture so the laying will take place in a humid environment. They prefer dryness and warm temperatures – another reason why they like to live in warm and cozy homes. The common flea in the country is the cat flea which despite its name has no preference for a particular pet. In the wild they live on rabbits, mongooses, painted jackals and more and at home he lives on dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets etc.
The tick prefers hot and dry weather and is therefore more common in spring and summer. In the spring, when the ticks return to activity with rising temperatures, there is also a lot of egg production, but also in the summer the ticks are common. However, it is important to know that some ticks can also be found out of season. Although they are more rare, because the weather in the country is not extreme and sometimes even in winter there are dry periods, ticks should be avoided throughout the year. Fleas also prefer warm and dry weather (although the larvae actually need a humid environment during their development.) Living in homes is less affected by the weather so they can be found throughout the year, especially in well-heated homes. In winter their development is slower but you still need to pay attention to their presence at home or on your pet.
Ticks are found mainly in vegetation – shrubs, tall grass and even on very low branches of trees or on the ground itself, sometimes. The main source of fleas is other animals. It’s not just wild animals or stray animals – sometimes even a dog that has an owner but is not cared for properly can be a source of fleas that are tired of living on it and asking for a new home – although in most cases these eggs fall from an infected dog and pass to your dog or cat. Ticks can also be transmitted to your pet from other animals. You should consider looking at some accessories to help your pet.
Ticks are carriers of various diseases that affect animals, especially cats, common are:
- Tick fever
- Lyme disease
- Tularemia It is important to remember that even if the cat is not infected with one of these diseases, ticks also transmit “just” infections from infected animals to your pet. Avoiding ticks is avoiding many diseases. In extreme cases ticks can cause anemia but in most cases the cat could become quite ill.
First of all, it is not pleasant to be the host of blood-sucking parasites. Their bites are unpleasant and they cause itching and discomfort. There are also animals that develop an allergy to the substance secreted by the fleas so that the bites will cause them great suffering and in extreme cases an acute allergic reaction and a bothersome skin disease. Even in non-severe cases, fleas cause the cat suffering. In addition, fleas can be carriers of all sorts of unpleasant diseases: typhus, intestinal worms etc. In extreme cases, a large amount of blood-sucking fleas on a cat can cause anemia – anemia. The danger to kittens is greater, of course, and can even lead to death. In cases where there are many external parasites there may already be symptoms such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Depression and apathy
- Multiple nervousness and even aggression