Hi there! It’s Lupin, and I decided to try my hand (or paw, as it were) at this blogging thing. Mom did a pretty good job with the first post, but I figured if the blog is going to be called “Lupin’s Life”, the least I could do is write it myself!
Today, I want to talk about a serious topic, which is flea and tick control. Now, I’m pretty lucky, because I’ve only ever had one tick and have never met a flea. But, my dad the vet, told me some of the scary stuff these tiny little bugs can cause!
First of all, fleas can be quite a nuisance. They get down under your hair and bite - how rude! I’m told it makes you itch all over, and some dogs will even itch so bad that they scratch and chew at themselves until they bleed! Ouch! But that’s not all - some fleas contain parasites, which can mess up an animal's red blood cells. I’m not sure what that means, but dad says it can make dogs and cats really sick! Also, fleas actually suck blood when they bite (like tiny little vampires!) and with all the blood they suck, they can cause something called anemia, which makes dogs or cats very weak and sick. This is especially dangerous for young puppies and kittens!
As bad as that sounds, ticks are apparently even worse. They don’t make dogs itch as much as fleas do, but they can carry a lot of bad diseases. One of these diseases is called Lyme Disease. If it is anywhere near as gross as that fruit called a lime, keep it away from me! Dad says Lyme disease used to only be in certain parts of the country, but it has gradually spread all over, including right here in North Carolina. There are other diseases that these ticks carry that can cause weakness, lethargy, joint pain, and decreased appetite. You pet parents keep an eye out for these signs in your babies. A lot of people mistake these changes for “old age” when it’s really not.
Some of these tick diseases can be found on certain blood tests. Some animal hospitals, like my dad’s, run a screening test for some of the more common tick diseases every year with my heartworm test. If a dog is really sick, there is a bigger (and I’m told much more expensive, but what do us dogs care about that – it’s not like we have to work!) blood panel that can be sent to a lab. No, not the black lab at the neighbor’s house, a laboratory!
The good news is there are a lot of good products out there to help keep these bad bugs away. There are some medications that are topical liquids that go on the skin, that form some kind of invisible barrier against fleas and ticks. I’m not sure how that works, but it’s kind of cool to think I have my own invisible force field!
Well, that’s about all I have to say about that. Remember to keep your dogs and cats on flea and tick prevention! Lupin out!