Two of the major problems you’ll encounter on the South African South Coast are ticks and especially fleas. Ticks and fleas are problematic in both dogs and cats. Fleas can also become a problem in pet rabbits and guinea pigs. Although the problem is more prominent during the wetter, hotter summer months, our experience is that these parasites can become pesky even during the cooler periods.
Apart from the obvious scratching, ticks and fleas can also transmit deadly diseases such as Babesiosis (Tick fever), Haemobartonella and Ehrlichia (Tick Bite fever). They can also cause irritation, pain, anaemia (blood loss), allergies, sores and superficial skin infections, and fleas are the intermediate hosts of pet Tapeworms (D. caninum).
Fleas can also transmit diseases to humans. Fleas jumping from rats to humans transmitted the cause of the Black Plague in 1664, killing over 70 000 people in London.
In dogs, there are two major tick and one major flea species that we have to deal with. These include the Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), Yellow dog tick (Haemaphysalis elliptica) and the very common Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). Apart from the Cat flea, domestic felines are also often pestered by the Yellow dog tick.
The staff at Vet Hospital Port Shepstone are trained and experienced to give you the best tick and flea control advice and to help you with the best veterinary tick and flea control products for your pet(s).
The wrath of the flea
Fleas breed in your dog or cat’s environment. This includes kennels, pet bedding, cracks, crevices and all sorts of dark, warm, moist environments. Fleas are not only an outside problem; they actually love the inside of your house, garage or covered areas. In fact, about 90% of your flea problem is in the environment and not on your pet(s). Fleas only jump onto pets in order to obtain food (blood) necessary to stay alive and reproduce. A pair of fleas can produce dozens of offspring (once again hiding in the environment).
It must also be noted that ticks and fleas will be an ongoing concern. New parasites will always be entering the environment through wild animals such as birds, monkeys, strays or even from your neighbour’s property. When you go for a walk on the beach and your dog is greeting another dog, they will be sharing their fleas. Tick and flea treatment should be done 12 months of the year!