By Humane Pennsylvania Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Alicia Simoneau, DVM

Last month, something big started for pets and their caretakers in our community. Did you hear? Humane Pennsylvania’s Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic opened its doors at the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving at 1801 N. 11th Street in Reading!

Humane Pennsylvania (HPA) staff had been planning the venture for quite some time, and the pandemic delayed the greatly anticipated opening of the Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic for far too long.

The concept of the Walk-In Clinic grew out of HPA’s pioneering Healthy Pets Initiative, which provides meaningful access to veterinary care for all in need. This clinic was made possible through the visionary generosity of the Giorgi Family Foundation and Jay Rosenson, in memory of Eileen Rosenson. Their leadership is helping HPA build the best communities anywhere to be an animal or animal caretaker.

The new Freedom Center, which opened July 1, 2021, included space for the Walk-In Clinic, but it took nearly a year to come to fruition. The Walk-In Clinic features two exam rooms and a comfortable lobby at the entrance at 11th and Bern Streets.

The Walk-In Clinic adds to the continuum of access to veterinary care for Berks County and surrounding communities. Access to affordable veterinary care for every community member is central to Humane Pennsylvania’s mission. HPA has many different ways for animal caretakers to access vet care, depending on their needs: Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Reading and Lancaster, Neighborhood Pay-What-You-Can Vaccine and Microchip Clinics, and now the Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic.

The HPA Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic offers comprehensive preventative vaccinations, care, and advice, without an appointment — and it’s designed to serve more community members at an affordable price point of only 60% of normal veterinary hospital rates.

Humane PA’s Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic will be open every Wednesday and Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm. The clinic is first come, first served.

Current services offered for dogs: Exam with a veterinarian ($32, required with any other service), Vaccinations ($14-15), flea and tick preventatives ($9), deworming (starting at $9), Microchip (Free, including registration, with every exam).

Current services offered for cats: Exam with a veterinarian ($32, required with any other service), Vaccinations ($14-15), flea and ear mite preventatives ($9), deworming (starting at $9), Microchip (Free, including registration, with every exam).

At this time, no sick or injured care is provided at the Healthy Pets Wilk-In Clinic. Please contact Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Reading or Lancaster or another veterinary hospital to make an appointment for sick or injured care for your pet.

Visit humanepa.org for additional hours and to see what services will be provided in the coming months.

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May Is National Chip Your Pet Month

May 16th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health | Healthy Pets | Healthy Pets Initiative | Humane Pennsylvania | Humane Veterinary Hospitals | Microchipping - (Comments Off on May Is National Chip Your Pet Month)
By: Dr. Alicia Simoneau, Chief Veterinary Officer

Should you have your pet microchipped? Absolutely yes, no bones about it.

Microchips save lives! The majority of reunions that animal shelters facilitate between pets and their owners happen because the pets are microchipped and registered with up-to-date contact information.

You may not think your pet is at risk of becoming a stray, but what might happen if someone visiting your home would leave a window or door unsecured? There’s also a chance that a weather event or other accident could damage your home and cause a pet to stray.

Accidents happen. Microchipping is kind of an insurance policy

Also, you can save money by getting a lifetime license when a dog is microchipped and spayed or neutered.

What Is a Microchip?

A microchip is a transponder that works using radio waves when activated by a scanner that is waved over the animal. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted under the skin, above muscle, in the subcutaneous layer. It is implanted by medical professionals using a sterile hypodermic needle, similar to a vaccination. Once implanted, the microchip remains active for the rest of the animal’s life.

In dogs and cats, the microchip is usually placed in the area between the shoulder blades or on the animal’s upper back. It’s a good idea to have the pet scanned by a vet or animal hospital a month or two after implantation to ensure that the chip is still in and hasn’t migrated out of the implantation site.

How Does a Microchip Work?

Each microchip has a unique number, an ID number of sorts, that needs to be registered with the pet owner’s name, address, and phone number. It is important to ensure a chip is registered and information is kept up to date.

When a microchip scanner is hovered above an animal with a microchip, the unique microchip number appears on the scanner’s screen. A facility staff member can then contact the appropriate microchip company and get the pet owner’s contact information. Every animal hospital and animal shelter has the ability to scan an animal to see if they have a microchip.

There are also tags that can be placed on pet collars to identify that an animal has a microchip. This is helpful if a dog or cat is found, as it indicates the pet has a home and a family that is eager for a reunion. The finder can call the microchip company and get the pet owner’s contact information, and then get that reunion started!

 Misconceptions About Microchips

A microchip is a GPS tracking device. This is not true. A microchip is not a GPS tracking device and will not provide any type of tracking whatsoever. A microchip provides a pet owner’s self-reported contact information.

Microchips are dangerous for animals. Microchips are, in fact, very safe. Millions upon millions of microchips have been implanted worldwide, with virtually no adverse reactions.

Microchipping your pet is expensive. There are no ongoing or recurring fees required for a microchip. Once a microchip is implanted and registered, it’s good for the animal’s life.

It typically it costs between $20 and $75 for microchip implantation and registration. However, at Humane Pennsylvania we think microchips are so important we will microchip and register any cat or dog for FREE!

How You Can Get Your Pet Microchipped

Our Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Reading and Lancaster can scan and implant a microchip at any regular appointment.

Or you can bring a pet to one of our Healthy Pets Initiative Clinics for a free microchip, needed vaccines (Rabies, DA2PP or FVRCP) and deworming, also at no cost to you.

For more information about our microchip and vaccination clinics, please visit https://humanepa.org/healthypets/upcomingclinicdates/.

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Preventing Heartworm Disease In Dogs

April 12th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health | Healthy Pets | Heartworm in Dogs | Heartworm Prevention | Humane Veterinary Hospitals - (Comments Off on Preventing Heartworm Disease In Dogs)
By Dr. Alicia Simoneau, Humane Pennsylvania Chief Veterinary Officer

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month! To make sure all dogs are protected from this serious disease, Dr. Simoneau has provided some valuable information for you and your pets.

A pervasive, serious medical condition, heartworm disease affects more than 1 million dogs in the U.S. every year. The disease can cause irreparable organ damage, but it can be both treated and prevented. Cats and ferrets may also be affected by heartworms, but usually not to the same extent as dogs.

What Causes Heartworms?

Heartworm disease is caused by an internal blood parasite, Dirofilaria immitis. Adult heartworms produce a pre-larval stage of the parasite, called microfilaria, which is passed from one dog to another by mosquitos.

How Does Heartworm Disease Spread and Develop?

In geographic areas where mosquitos thrive year-round, heartworm disease remains endemic. Heartworms are diagnosed nationwide, but the Southeastern states harbor mosquitos that carry heartworm. Dogs are frequently taken from the south to the northeast, and people take their pets on vacation.

When a mosquito has a blood meal from a dog that has adult heartworms, the microfilaria is taken in by the mosquito and undergoes transformation to a larval stage, which can now be a source of infection for another dog. This larval stage parasite is injected from the mosquito to another dog with the next blood meal the mosquito takes.

Inside the canine host, the larval stage parasite matures into the adult stage. If not prevented by medication, the worms continue developing. As the parasite molts in the dog, it migrates through its tissue and travels into the bloodstream. The parasite finds the heart and blood vessels to the lungs, where it stays permanently lodged and is now a mature adult. The process from the larval stage to the adult stage takes about 7 months, and adult heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years.

Untreated heartworm disease results in congestive heart failure in the dog. However, the heartworm infection causes scar tissue and severe inflammation to develop even before the end-stage disease. These effects can occur as early as 7 to 12 months after a dog is bitten by an infective mosquito.

How Can Heartworms Be Prevented?

The larval stages are susceptible to medication known as heartworm preventative, which kills them and prevents them from developing into adult worms. Heartworm preventatives work to kill the heartworm larva in the dog’s tissues the day they are given. The aim is to prevent the current infection from advancing, i.e., prevent the parasite larva from developing into adults.

Heartworm preventatives do not have lasting effects, however. They clear larval heartworm infections once every 30 days. As such, they must be administered to the dog every 30 days.

It is recommended to work with a vet to get a dog on a testing schedule and give medication that kills the larval stage of the heartworm before it has the chance to mature into an adult worm and cause excessive damage.

Screening tests look for antigens that are produced by adult female heartworms. The heartworm doesn’t make the antigen the test is looking for until the heartworm is mature, and maturity occurs 7 months after an infective mosquito transmits the larval stage of heartworm via a blood meal. This is why puppies don’t need a heartworm test to start the medication that kills the larval stage.

There is no way of knowing if immature worms exist, so testing is recommended 4 to 7 months after exposure. In young dogs at higher risk, testing twice in the first year is recommended. For adult dogs that are given year-round heartworm preventative monthly, or for other lower-risk patients that are given the preventative yearly, testing is often the recommendation.

How Is Heartworm Disease in Dogs Treated?

Once a dog is diagnosed with adult heartworms, the treatment is a year-long process. A series of oral and injectable medications are administered under the observation and guidance of a veterinarian, and stringent exercise restriction is necessary for many months.

Once the active infection is cleared, the dead adult heartworms continue to break down and be removed by the dog’s body. Scar tissue will always remain in the dog’s lung vessels and heart.

The Bottom Line

This internal blood parasite has life-threatening consequences for dogs — and those who consider them to be a family member — and it is prevalent in the United States. Heartworm disease in dogs is much easier to prevent than treat, so it is imperative to work with a veterinarian to develop a heartworm prevention plan specific to your dog to keep them healthy and happy.

Schedule an appointment and develop a heartworm prevention plan by visiting https://hvhospitals.org/contact-us/!

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Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month: How You Can Make A Difference.

March 30th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Cruelty | Animal Health | Animal Welfare | Healthy Pets Initiative | Humane Pennsylvania - (Comments Off on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month: How You Can Make A Difference.)
Written by: Alexandra Young, Humane Pennsylvania Community Outreach Programs Manager

Since 2006, April has been recognized throughout the U.S. as National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, thanks to the efforts of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

From the Middle Ages onward, there have been barbaric practices related to how animals are treated. Many of these actions come as the result of superstition, religious beliefs, or outright lack of compassion or respect for the animals humans use to increase capacity and make money, especially animals like working horses. Although we live in what is considered to be a civilized world, animal neglect, abuse and cruelty are still pervasive today.

In Pennsylvania, a person commits cruelty to animals (Sec. 5533 of the Pennsylvania Statute1) if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly ill-treat, overload, beat, abandon or abuse an animal. Aggravated cruelty, as defined by Sec. 5534 of the Pennsylvania Statute, is committed when torture, neglect or cruelty causes serious bodily injury or the death of an animal.

With some thoughtful planning and your smartphone, you may save animals’ lives when you least expect it.

The first thing you can do is research the laws in your most frequented area (your workplace or home). These laws include, but are not limited to:

  • Tethering unattended dogs; there are specific requirements depending on the weather
  • General neglect of basic needs (food, water, and shelter) and medical care
  • Animal fighting and possession of animal fighting paraphernalia
  • Outdated cosmetic procedures, including: cropping ears, docking tails (puppies over 5 days old) and surgically debarking dogs
  • Animals trapped in overheated vehicles

Next, determine the municipality of a street address or intersection. In Pennsylvania, you can find this information through the Pennsylvania Department of Community of Economic Development’s Municipal Statistics website: http://munstats.pa.gov/Public/FindMunicipality.aspx

Now you can obtain the phone number of the local Humane Officer or Animal Control agency for the area and save it in your favorite contacts. If you frequent more than one city or county on a daily basis, save this information by location. If the agency (or agencies) you’ve identified offers online reporting of cruelty, save the link within that contact for quick retrieval.

When you make a report through a phone call or online, you’ll need to leave your contact information so the agency can follow up with you, but your identity is kept strictly confidential. Just remember that you could be the only — or last — chance at survival for an animal.

See it, say it: To avoid retaliation, many people hesitate to report their neighbors even when they know an animal is being mistreated. However, I realized through my experiences working at a shelter with animal control officers that many people frequent the same daily routes where they may regularly see a neglected or suffering animal.

In pre-pandemic times, that included mail carriers, bus drivers and package couriers. Today, COVID has increased deliveries from retail stores and restaurants, whose staff must now take pictures as verification of successful deliveries!

If you see something, do not hesitate. Report animal abuse!

One of the most common situations is finding a dog (or a cat) locked in a parked car on a warm day. Many people do not realize that even on a 72-degree day, a car’s internal temperature can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour.2

To protect pets that are left unattended in parked cars in hot weather, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolfe signed House Bill 1216, the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, in 2019. It allows law enforcement officers to enter a car if an animal is believed to be in danger or being neglected.

NOTE: This law does not protect citizens against liability; it protects police/humane/animal control officers or other public safety professionals in this specific situation.

If you see an animal stuck in a hot car:

  • Record the make, model and license plate number of the car.
  • If possible, take a photo of the animal in the car as well as the surrounding area (ex. showing no shade in the parking lot).
  • Go to the nearest business and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. Many owners are unaware of this danger and will quickly return when notified.
  • If the owner is not found, do not wait and do not break into the car yourself. Call the authorities!

Recently, there have been new guidelines announced associated with tethering dogs, increased penalties for animal abuse, and more protection for horses and other animals. Fines range from $300 to $2,000 with jail time even for a summary offense.

Community change may be slow to occur, but it can only occur when individuals refuse to accept the status quo. Be the voice of animals that depend on compassionate, empathetic, courageous and proactive humans. Join Humane Pennsylvania in building the best community anywhere to be an animal or animal caretaker.

 

Learn more about our Healthy Pets Initiative and other resources we offer at humanepa.org.

References:
1. www.legis.state.pa.us
2. https://patch.com/pennsylvania/newtown-pa/pas-new-hot-car-law-protect-pets-what-know-summer)

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Summer Safety Tips For Your Pets

May 24th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health - (Comments Off on Summer Safety Tips For Your Pets)

As summer slowly (but surely) approaches, many of us are getting ready to enjoy some family-friendly barbecues and lively firework shows to celebrate the season. While these traditions are just what we need for this summer, we also want to be mindful of how they might frighten and become a danger to our pets. Here are some useful tips to keep your pets safe during upcoming events.

NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets

  • Lit fireworks can be extremely dangerous to pets. Sparks from the fireworks can cause severe burns and/or trauma to the face, paws, and skin. Never use fireworks around your pets, as many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

Leave Pets at Home

  • While most humans enjoy summer parties, most pets do not. Loud noises, crowded areas, and unfamiliar settings can frighten pets and cause them to become stressed and disoriented. For your pet’s safety, refrain from taking them to firework festivities. Leave them at home instead, away from direct noises, in their own environment where they will feel safe.

Keep ID’s Current

  • Loud noises from fireworks and other festivities may scare your pet and cause them to escape from your yard or home if they are not safely enclosed. Be sure that your pet is always wearing a collar with an ID tag that includes: your name, current phone number, and any other relevant contact information.

Visit HumanePA.org to learn more about our Healthy Pets Initiative, which provides microchip services to keep pets safe and happy in their homes.

Beware of Hazardous Products

Create Barbeque Boundaries

  • Barbeques are a lot of fun, full of delicious foods and drinks…for humans, however, some of these items can be deadly to your pets. Be sure your pets cannot get into any alcoholic beverages.
  • Keep in mind that many human foods are not meant for pets; pet treats are always better to give your pets than human food, as human foods can cause severe digestive issues for pets. Be sure to avoid avocado, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and products with the sweetener xylitol.

No Glow Jewelry for Pets

  • While it might look cute to put glow jewelry or glow sticks on your pets, the plastic and chemicals inside the tube are hazardous to pets if ingested. If your pet chews and/or swallows the plastic attachments or chemicals, they can be at risk for excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation, as well as intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.

Safely Store Matches and Lighter Fluid

  • Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which, if ingested, can be hazardous to pets. Lighter fluid, meanwhile, can be irritating to your pet’s skin, and, if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and other issues.
  • Be sure to store all matches and lighter fluid in a safe place where pets cannot access the items by jumping or climbing.

If your pet(s) ingest a poisonous substance like the ones listed above, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline ((800) 213-6680) immediately. Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your pet unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian.

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National Volunteer Appreciation Week

April 21st, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on National Volunteer Appreciation Week)

This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week! With over 300 volunteers that have served us throughout Berks County and Lancaster, it is only right that we thank each and every one of you for dedicating your time and efforts to helping Humane Pennsylvania build the best community anywhere to be an animal!

Here’s what some of our staff had to say about our pawsome volunteers!

“Volunteers are critically important to every aspect of Humane Pennsylvania.  Most people tend to think of the vital role animal care volunteers play as fairly simple, but as a community-supported charitable organization, volunteers serve in so many other ways.  Our volunteer board of directors helps guide the mission and vision of Humane Pennsylvania and ensures stewardship of our donor resources.  Event and fundraising volunteers help connect Humane Pennsylvania with people in the community who want to support our work.  Professional service providers — ranging from attorneys to mechanics to builders — help us stretch our dollars so we can put the most into care for the animals.  There is no part of our work that is not touched and improved through volunteer efforts and I am truly grateful to work with all of these dedicated animal lovers!”

    – Karel Minor, CEO/President

Humane Pennsylvania is a community service organization.  Volunteers are a critical component to providing those services, as they help to connect us to the communities we serve. They provide critical perspectives and insights into the values of those who utilize our services. They represent Humane Pennsylvania by demonstrating through their volunteerism that they believe in our values and the impact of our programs. They reflect those values back out into the community, helping to carry our message farther and with greater authenticity than we could on our own.  Their support, willingness to participate, passions, and dedication help to sustain our own.  When we think of our dedicated volunteers working alongside us without compensation in what is an often joyous, but frequently difficult (and occasionally heartbreaking) line of work when they could more easily be keeping their free time for themselves, we are reminded of the privilege we enjoy most: the privilege of helping others.”

   – Damon March, Chief Operating Officer

Volunteers help the Veterinary Department of Humane Pennsylvania in a variety of ways. One way has been their help with office work in the reception area. Volunteers have helped organize medical records, scan medical records into our new cloud-based software, and have helped with data entry. This volunteer assistance helps our receptionists have more interaction directly with our clients.

In addition to office work, volunteers have helped with check-in and check-out at spay/neuter clinics. Check-in is a busy time at clinics and volunteers provide a tremendous amount of help when it comes to client interactions and discharging pets at the end of the day.

The Healthy Pet Initiative program and Community Vaccine and Microchip Clinics rely heavily on volunteer support to run as smoothly as they do. The wide array of volunteers help with everything from client interactions, translation, traffic control, data entry, and taking donations – they even assist with holding animals for exams and preparing vaccines and microchips. For the continuous hard work and dedication, we are ever so grateful!”

   – Dr. Simoneau, Chief Veterinary Officer

“Volunteering is defined as “a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labor for community service.” This definition truly sums up the volunteers of Humane Pennsylvania, and specifically, those that assist with our fundraisers, community events, mailings, and so much more. We couldn’t do it without them. The advancement team has been so fortunate to meet some of the greatest people. Volunteers help us take part in more community events, go above and beyond for our fundraisers, spend their days off stuffing envelopes and letters for mailings, and just making this the best community anywhere to be an animal. During this National Volunteer Appreciation Week, we extend our gratitude to the volunteers who give so selflessly to our fundraisers and initiatives that support our mission and the animals in our care.”

   – Lauren Henderson, Director of Development

“Our volunteers are THE best. Not only do the shelter volunteers spoil the animals and provide amazing love and care to each and everyone, but they also spoil the staff! They listen to the staff, provide amazing ideas and suggestions, and ease the very heavy load that shelter work puts on the team. Our volunteers also help our community by assisting with people coming into or calling the shelter with questions. What they do for us is unmeasurable. The most incredible thing is that they choose to take their own time, out of the kindness of their hearts, to help us. That is a big deal. They are a big deal. In the culture we live in people are go-go-go and there are always a million things going on that make it difficult to find time to do much of anything. Yet, we have an army of people who day in and day out provide such wonderful support and assistance to enable us to continue our mission. Our volunteers are devoted, caring, silly, and intelligent people we consider part of our team and helps us move mountains and make a difference. “Thank you” never seems to be enough, but we truly hope they know how much they do mean to us.”

   – Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations

“The CRC really is a resource center for Berks pet owners and more recently, community cat caregivers as part of the Healthy Pets Initiative (HPI).  A vital function of the facility is a tactile presence to verified clients who stop by Spike’s Pet Pantry as they pick up supplemental pet food and supplies, learn about our services, and come to trust us as their “pet partner”.  Volunteers keep our program running efficiently by performing regular, timely data entry, sort/prepare pet food/supplies on pantry days and pick up pet food/supply donations throughout the community. We also rely on them to help us unload and distribute tractor-trailers full of donations from the Greater Good Affiliate Program and other high volume donors so we can share resources with other animal welfare organizations, including state/county animal response teams. Volunteers graciously extend their existing relationships with valuable, pet-friendly individuals and businesses to encourage, create and maintain local engagement and support of HPI events (community vaccination/microchip clinics, etc.) and programming.  When existing, more fortunate pet owners truly understand our mission to improve local pet care and ownership habits, they become an integral part of achieving our goal to be the best community for pets and their owners. For these reasons, we are beyond grateful for the volunteers that continue to help make Humane Pennsylvania an amazing organization for animals and animal caretakers.”

– Alexandra Young, Community Outreach Programs Manager

“No animal shelter would be complete without its foster volunteers. Foster volunteers play such an important role in Humane Pennsylvania because they selflessly provide a great amount of dedication to helping save animals’ lives. Oftentimes, shelters receive animals into their facilities that can’t be placed up for adoption, whether it’s for medical or behavioral reasons. Foster volunteers open their homes and their hearts to nurse them back to health or work on their behavior – all without expecting anything in return. If it weren’t for their endless efforts, we wouldn’t be able to continue to do what we do here at Humane Pennsylvania. We are forever thankful to have such kind, caring, and loving foster volunteers.” 

– Tawny Kissinger, Lifesaving Programs Coordinator

These words cover only a fraction of how we feel about our devoted and selfless volunteers. Every person, no matter the age, that has volunteered with us has taken the concept of giving back to the highest level. For this, on behalf of the entire Humane Pennsylvania organization and the animals in our care, we are eternally grateful.

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The Importance of Flea and Tick Preventatives

April 5th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health | Flea and tick prevention - (Comments Off on The Importance of Flea and Tick Preventatives)
Dr. Alicia Simoneau, Chief Veterinary Officer for Humane Pennsylvania

Spring has sprung! The warm weather will have people and pets outdoors more frequently. Be warned: temperatures like this also mean ticks and fleas will be out in full force. Here are some tips on flea and tick preventatives and reasons why prevention should be a part of your regular pet maintenance plan.

Pennsylvania is a hot spot for tick borne disease.  Some species of ticks in our area frequently transmit Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia. Infrequently seen tick borne diseases in our area include Babesiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The same ticks that transmit tick borne disease to dogs can transmit the disease to humans as well. A tick needs to be feeding for over 18 hours before it transmits disease. It is important to use a reputable product that acts quickly to kill a tick before it can spread disease. Some products will repel ticks as well. Checking animals for ticks after they come in from outside is advisable. There are many great products on the market with a variety of routes of administration. These routes include a chewable that last one to three months, collars that last up to 8 months and once monthly topical applications. Choosing the right one will depend on your pet and your preference. Products made to be effective against ticks are also effective against fleas. It is extremely important to make sure a product that is effective against ticks is specifically labeled for use in cats.

While ticks can transmit diseases that harm the inside of a pet’s body, fleas cause diseases on the inside AND outside of our pets’ bodies. Fleas are a common cause of skin disease, allergies and intestinal parasites for dogs and cats. They are contagious external parasites that can readily jump from animal to animal or can be carried by people into a home as they jump on our clothing. Wild animals coming into back yards where our pets roam is another way a yard can be a source of fleas.  Once a flea is observed it is not sufficient to bathe once and call your problem resolved. A flea treatment needs to be used for a minimum of 3 months to get rid of an infestation. This length of time is due to the life cycle of the flea. Fleas can live in an environment without a blood meal for over 3 months. Flea dips and shampoos are not recommended due to their harsh ingredients. Flea dips do not help rid the animal of an infestation because pupae and eggs are already in the environment. Bathing with a gentle shampoo made for pets is a better option for removing adult fleas. A quality chewable or topical application for a minimum of 3 months is important treatment and prevention against future fleas. Because fleas are so contagious, all pets in a household need to be treated concurrently. Fleas carry diseases such as tapeworms, and Bartonella most commonly. Not all products that are effective against fleas are effective against ticks. Cats can have particular sensitivity to certain ingredients in low quality flea products, which should be avoided.

In summary, ticks and fleas serve as vectors for human disease. Preventing these external parasites on pets is a better option than dealing with the consequences of the diseases they cause or an infestation. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable product for your pets.

 

DO: Use year round

DO: Use a reputable brand your veterinarian recommends

DO: Ensure the product is labeled for the correct body weight and species

DO: Follow label instructions closely

DO: Check your animal regularly for fleas and ticks

 

DO NOT: Use dog products on cats

DO NOT: Use flea dips or shampoos

 

 

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