Here at AMC, we take your pet’s immunity against ticks, fleas, heartworm and other parasites very seriously. And we have good reason to do so, especially because of where we live. Unfortunately, many of these harmful pests live and thrive here in our region. For example, did you know that approximately 20% of dogs in Atlantic Canada with chronic coughing have been infected with fox heartworm? Despite all of this, the good news is that with regular parasite prevention medications, your furry family member will have most if not all of the protection they need.
How can I tell if my pet has worms, fleas or ticks?
It depends on the exact parasite that your pet has. Some of the symptoms of parasite infestation can even overlap. If you notice anything out of the ordinary about your pet’s appearance or behaviour, please contact us right away.
The most common sign you may see is that your dog will be scratching excessively. Some other ways to tell is to part the fur on your dog and look for “flea dirt”. It almost looks like small coffee grounds or pepper. Some people tell us that they only saw one flea, unfortunately, if you see one, there is always a lot more hiding.
With ticks, the most common way to tell if your dog has one is by feeling along or searching in common areas where ticks like to attach. Look behind the ears, under collars, between toes, in the elbows, and in the groin area – there are some areas where ticks like to feed.
How can I get rid of ticks on my pet?
First of all, we want to stress that prevention is key. These days, prevention medications come in topical or chewable tablets. There is also a Lyme disease vaccine available, which would be great for pets who live in higher-risk areas. If your animal has a tick attached, the tick can be sent away for analysis to see if it is a carrier for Lyme disease. If you are unsure about how to properly remove a tick, please do not attempt to do it on your own. You may actually cause an infection, and you may not completely remove the tick – especially its mouthparts – from your pet. Please call us right away in these situations. We can remove the tick for you and show you how to do it properly.