Fleas and Ticks

Anyone who has pets can tell you that fleas and ticks are a major concern, not only for the health of the pet but also the health of the owners. Fleas and ticks cause discomfort as well as the possibility of spreading diseases not only for animals, but also for humans.

Deer Tick

What are Fleas and Ticks?

Fleas are external parasites that latch onto their host and thrive on their blood. Fleas are wingless and jump from area to area from host to host. Fleas are dark in color and very small with a hard outer body that can withstand great pressure. A female flea can produce up to 5000 or more eggs over the course of a lifetime, which is typically 3 months up to a year and a half when conditions are ideal.

Ticks are also external parasites that feed on the blood of their host. These pests are light weight with 8 legs and are usually not noticed until after they have bitten. It is very difficult to feel a tick walking on the skin, and typically it will not walk but simply latch on where it lands. The tick produces saliva that it secretes into the bite area to prevent blood from clotting and allow for an easier feed.

The Damage Caused

Fleas can cause substantial damage to pets and property. An infestation of fleas that goes untreated can cause severe pain from chewing and scratching on pets caused by flea allergic dermatitis, meaning allergic to the flea bite, humans can also feel the pain from this allergy and may experience red blotches similar to mosquito bites.  Due to the blood sucking nature of fleas, death can occur as well, especially in older pets that may not groom themselves as well or suffer from other illnesses. A flea infestation that gets out of control may result in property damage as well. If the population cannot be tamed, furniture and carpets may need torn out and be replaced.

Ticks can also cause damage with their bites. The difference is that ticks latch onto one spot and typically stay in that spot and bite deeper into the skin. Ticks can carry a wide variety of diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and many others.  If a tick is noticed, it is critical to get it off as soon as possible and critical that the entire tick is removed. If part of the tick is left behind it can cause severe infection.

Prevention

To prevent fleas and ticks, treatments are created to be applied monthly to the animal to kill and repel these parasites. Pest control applications can be sprayed on the lawn by lawn care companies  to kill any invaders present and prevent future pests. When traveling into wooded areas, bug sprays and bug repellents are recommended to help prevent contracting these parasites. After walking through heavily wooded areas, it is recommended to check all over the body and throughout the hair to see if there are any ticks present and remove them immediately with tweezers or seek medical attention.

Sum it up

Fleas and ticks are parasites that can cause serious problems for those they come into contact with. Preventative care with lawn applications and monthly pet medicines are the first defense against the aggravation, pain, and illness associated with fleas and ticks.

It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.

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