Heartworm, fleas and other parasites in dogs need to be eliminated by following appropriate medications in them.  Many products have come up in the commercial fields to protect the dogs from heartworms, fleas and other parasites like hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, lice, ticks etc.  We should not like having a flea on our dog.

Among the heartworm, fleas, and other parasites, the fleas produce the hypersensitive reactions in the affected animals. Hence, the animals infested with fleas start severely scratching of the body. Many times, the scratching is so severe and the skin becomes more hyperemic and dermatitis occurs in the affected areas.

An animal will not lie down or sleep comfortably due to the constant bites by the fleas. Hence, the animal looks as if affected by some severe skin disease.  If the animal is not properly attended for this tick bite problem, there will be often secondary bacterial invasions in these sites and there may even be a bad smell emanating from the skin areas.

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Close observation of the dog is highly essential to rule out the occurrence of fleas disturbing the animal to a greater extent. Similarly, the skin of the animal needs to be tested for the presence of ticks, lice etc.

In many incidences, if anemia is present, the blood protozoa need to be ruled out in addition to the hookworm problems.  The clinical problems like anemia, loose motion, pot belly etc. might be recognized by the dog owners themselves and however, the dog needs to undergo the routine health-related examination involving fecal examination, hematological examination, and blood smear examination.

Many commercial products have come up in the market, which is useful to deal with all these conditions by a single dose.  Drugs like ivermectin are highly useful and are available in both injection and oral form in addition to the solution form that can be applied on the skin. These drugs in dogs can lead to the prophylaxis of these conditions also.

Let’s Jump into Reality

One of the most important considerations dog owners face is what type of flea, tick, and heartworm preventative to use. Most of these preventatives are made from toxic chemicals and can create additional health problems if used incorrectly. Over-the-counter flea and tick medications have not been through the level of extensive testing performed on veterinary pharmaceutical flea and tick preventatives. It is usually best to discuss any use of medications and toxic chemicals on your pet with your veterinarian. Being an informed consumer can help you know what questions to ask.

Chemical Flea, Tick and Heartworm Preventative Products

Fleas and ticks are only a minor issue if it addressed right away. These pests can kill your dog if you allow them to reach infestation level. Fleas and ticks spread disease, cause allergic reactions, and act as vectors in the spread of blood and intestinal parasites. There are many chemical preventative products available; most of them are safe if used properly. Several products use a combination of chemicals to prevent and kill both fleas and ticks. There are also one or two combination products that work as flea and heartworm preventatives. Currently, only Revolution appears designed to protect against all three parasites.

Holistic Flea and Tick Control

Bathing your dog on a regular basis and manually removing fleas and ticks will aid in keeping them from infesting your home and yard. Bathing your dog in Dawn dish soap can be useful as the detergent dries out fleas and ticks. Follow baths with a flea comb and tick remover to rid him of any surviving bugs.

Housekeeping

Vacuuming your house several times per week will remove most fleas and ticks from carpeting and furniture. Vacuum your dog’s bed and sleeping areas thoroughly, and wash loose bedding in the washer.

Plants

Controlling flea and tick populations on your dog can often be done by addressing these parasites in his environment. Planting insect repelling herbs around the edge of your yard can reduce the number of fleas and ticks by making your yard unattractive to them. Lavender, lemongrass, mint, sage, and basil will repel these unwanted pests. Adding cedar chips to areas of your yard will also help.

Nematodes

A very safe, natural, and biological method of ridding your yard of fleas is to introduce nematodes to the area. Nematodes are very tiny members of the roundworm family. Entomopathogenic nematodes are safe for people and animals. These tiny predators feed on flea eggs and larvae. Nematodes come in dry form; just sprinkle on the lawn, add water, and let the flea destruction begin!

Safer Than Pesticides

The food grade diatomaceous earth and silica gels can be used on your lawn, dog bedding, and carpeting to help with all of this. These are dusts that dry out the bodies of fleas and ticks which will eventually cause them to die. Be sure to wear a mask and goggles when applying these dusts as they can irritate the eyes and respiratory system. Insect growth regulators stop flea growth and cause cessation of the mating cycle. They are not pesticides, but they do control parasite populations.

A Heartworm

Heartworm is a deadly parasite that has several life stages, its preferred hosts are dogs, and is transmitted from infected dogs to uninfected dogs by mosquitoes. Heartworm lives in a dog’s bloodstream and eventually attacks the heart muscle. Symptoms begin with a soft cough during exertion such as running or playing with another dog. The dog later becomes lethargic and loses weight. When he has reached this stage of heartworm disease, he is in grave danger of dying. According to the Heartworm Society, this deadly parasite lives on every continent except Antarctica.

With Heartworm Prevention

A common and effective way to prevent heartworm is by giving your dog a heartworm preventative medication every 4-6 weeks. This method is the one recommended by most veterinarians and the Heartworm Society. These medications come in several forms

  • Pills or chewable tablets
    • Heartgard (ivermectin)
    • Interceptor (milbemycin)
    • Proheart (moxidectin)
  • Injection (moxidectin)
    • Proheart-6 (made illegal in the U. S. due to safety concerns)
    • Proheart SR-12 (widespread use in Australia and Asia)
  • Topical applications
    • Revolution (Selamectin)
    • Advantage Topical (moxidectin and imidicloprid)

    Talk to your veterinarian about which heartworm preventative is the best option for your dog.

    Heartworm Prevention-Natural

    Most natural heartworm preventatives have not undergone clinical studies. Certified organic black walnut tinctures as part of an individualized holistic prevention protocol are one of the holistic approaches to heartworm prevention for dogs. There is anecdotal evidence that this type of preventative care is effective.

    One of the best ways to reduce the transmission of heartworm, fleas, and ticks onto your dog is to take measures to discourage mosquito, flea, and tick populations. Keep your lawn trimmed short, do not allow standing water to collect, and introduce plants which repel pests.

Denisse Donnelly
Denisse Donnelly

 

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