Pests That Can Hurt Your Pets

By October 30, 2020 November 5th, 2020 Pet Care

Just like people, pets can become sick in a variety of ways, including from pests. Your pets can contract illnesses from pests that carry bacteria, parasites, and viruses. So, let’s discuss some of these harmful pests that can hurt your pets and what you can do about them.

Fleas

Fleas like warm temperatures with relatively high humidity, making them perfect candidates to flourish inside your home. Once they infect a pet host, they turn into egg-laying machines.

  • How Do I Know if My Pet Has Fleas? Fleas feast on blood, so once attached to your pet, they can cause anemia. Signs that your pet has fleas include restlessness, itching, scratching, scabbing, and skin infections. Search under your pet’s hair or fur and look for any tiny black specks. Use a flea comb to pull out any fleas. 
  • Flea Treatment – Your veterinarian should determine how severe the infestation is and recommend a treatment, which could include medication, shampoos, or topical preparations. 

Ticks

Like fleas, ticks feed on your pet’s blood. However, ticks are far more harmful because they can transport bacteria and diseases from one animal to another, including:

  • Lyme disease. This is a common tick-borne disease. If infected, your pet may experience depression, appetite loss, high fever, muscle stiffness, or paralysis. 
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms include depression, appetite loss, joint and muscle pain, and seizures. In severe cases, hemorrhages and kidney failure may happen. This disease affects dogs more than cats. 
  • Canine Hepatozoonosis. Signs to look for in your dog are lethargy, weight loss, fever, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Canine hepatozoonosis is most commonly found in the South and Southeast. The good news is that it can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication. 
  • Tick Paralysis. Caused by a toxin in tick saliva, so dozens of tick species are involved. Symptoms are breathing problems, muscle pain, and leg numbness. Over ten percent of untreated cases result in death. Signs of infection won’t appear until approximately a week after a tick bite.  

Treatment for Tick Diseases – The essential step is to remove any ticks you find on your pet. If your pet begins to exhibit any symptoms, consult your veterinarian so the right treatment can be prescribed. Treatments include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and steroids. 

Mites

Almost every dog has a population of these minute arachnids passed down from its mother. However, once mites multiply, they can cause severe skin infections known as mange. Symptoms include hair loss, bald spots, itching, and scabbing. There are two types:

  • Demodectic Mange: The more serious form that can spread over your pet’s entire body. 
  • Sarcoptic Mange: The affected area is more localized. 

Mites Treatment – Mites can be treated with oral medications, shampoos, and topical chemicals. 

Worms

Worms are parasites that can live in your pet’s organs, especially the heart, intestines, or skin. They feed off blood and vital nutrients from the inside. The most common types include tapeworms, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. If left untreated, worms can cause serious diseases and, ultimately, death. Dogs are more likely to be affected than cats. Common symptoms include poor appearance, weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, and heart issues.

  • Treatment for Worms – Unfortunately, worm infestations may never produce symptoms until damage has been done. Therefore, worm prevention is the best policy. Talk to your vet about the best method to keep your pet free of worms. 

Final Thoughts on Pests That Can Hurt Your Pets

Be aware of all the pests that can hurt your pets. If you notice anything wrong with your pet, don’t wait to make an appointment with your vet. And, if you need emergency treatment in Columbia, SC, don’t hesitate to bring your pet to CVETS.