It's summer, and that means I should be able to watch birds and soak up some rays from the comfort of my backyard, right? As much as I would love to see what life outside my door has to offer, certain parasites make that hard to do. The fleas make me scratch, the ticks carry frightening diseases, and many different kinds of worms want to live inside of my body. Yuck!
Ectoparasites Are Just Looking for a Ride
Fleas and ticks are ectoparasites, meaning they think my delicate fur is their personal apartment. Their persistent burrowing into my skin causes me to scratch in frustration. If you don't evict them quickly, fleas can eventually leave me with a condition called allergic dermatitis. I've seen some of my friends struggle with that, including the canine ones, and it's no fun at all. Even worse, fleas can transmit diseases to my human friends and other animals. I urge you to talk to one of our Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic veterinarians about a year-round flea control program before that happens.
Ticks just tick me off. I'm rolling around in the grass minding my own business when they latch on and use my blood as a drinking fountain. They also like to carry terrible infections around with them, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and pass it along to unsuspecting cats like myself. Ticks don't discriminate, though. They can also make dogs ill just by being their parasitic selves. If you have a dog or a cool cat like me, make sure you check for ticks from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail every day.
Endoparasites Like Living on the Inside
Humans think worms are slimy and ugly, but for me they can actually be life-threatening. Whether it's heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, or another type, they all survive by getting inside of my body and then reproducing. When they take over, I may not be able to breathe. I will also show that I'm sick in many other ways, such as sleeping a lot, not wanting to play, and saying no to food. Fortunately, my human is responsible and makes sure that I have the preventive medication I need to keep these worms away from me. Not all of my cat and dog friends are so lucky. If you know their owners, let them know their pets depend on them to stay healthy and parasite-free this summer.
Until Next Time,
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