Flea, tick, and parasite prevention is just one of those controversial topics that generates a lot of confusion for pet owners.
Here are some questions often asked of animal care professionals regarding this subject:
• Are fleas,ticks, parasites really that bad?
• Are there “natural” remedies?
• Are the products dangerous?
• Why trust my vet?
Fleas, ticks, and parasites are not only a nuisance, but they can cause serious discomfort to your pet. Fleas cannot live on humans, but they can cause flea allergy. Ticks can cause Lyme disease in animals and their owners. Internal and external parasites can cause illness ranging from itch and hair loss to intestinal distress, as well as serious complications to internal organs, depending upon the species and burden of infection, and can also be transmitted to humans.
As with most illness, prevention is easier, safer, and cheaper than treatment after the fact.
There are NO natural remedies proven to prevent fleas, ticks, and parasites, despite persistent rumours on the internet regarding brewer’s yeast and garlic, tea tree oil, and dietary “deterrents”.
Most natural repellents have limited efficacy, and while it is true that fleas and ticks may be removed mechanically, flea eggs cannot easily be eliminated from the pet’s environment by natural methods. The damage done by biting fleas and ticks can also not be easily reversed, ranging from allergy to tapeworm infection, to Lyme disease and other complications.
The products scientifically formulated to prevent and kill fleas, ticks, and parasites are by far the safest to use on your pet. There are commercially available non-prescription products, but it is always best to consult your vet.
Your vet knows your pet. Your vet has the tests and knowledge to prescribe the best product, dose and parasite prevention schedule for your pet based on your pet’s species, breed, age, and health profile, including previous reactions to chemicals or drugs. Your vet understands these products, their use, and your lifestyle (can you easily medicate your pet, where do you go with your pet, etc.) Consulting your vet for pest prevention will save you money and time, and both you and your pet the aggravation and health complications of an infestation. In the unlikely event of a negative reaction to a proven pest control product, your vet has the research and knowledge to deal with adverse reactions.
Amanda G. is a Registered Veterinary Technician and a valued member of Toronto AMS.
Photo by Francesca Di Pasqua