Is your dog constantly scratching their back, neck or ears? Do you see them rubbing their back on the pavement or against the wall? This might be a sign of ectoparasites. What IS an ectoparasite? This basically means that your dog might have a parasite that is affecting a part of the body that is outside, hence, the skin. Ectoparasites such as ticks and fleas can affect your dog’s health but no worries! In this short article we will tell you how to handle the situation in case you are a new dog owner.
Where did my dog get these fleas and ticks from?
Ticks and fleas live in lots of different places, some of these can include grass, carpets, beds, and other dogs. It is common for pets to catch these parasites from going to parks where the grass isn’t frequently mowed. Adult ticks or ticks that have been on other dogs climb to the highest part of the of a blade of grass, awaiting their prey. Your puppy can bring them home without you noticing and they might reproduce at home. This is why it is very important to pay a visit to the veterinarian. Also, avoid walking your dog in parks where the grass is not so tall, as they are reported to have a lower probability of ticks.
What do I do if I find a tick or flea on my dog?
The answer to this question depends on the amount. Let’s say you just got home from a walk in the park and found one flea on your dog, it has no symptoms, and you feel like you’re able to remove it, then do. Remove the flea and drop it into a solution of chlorine or alcohol until you don’t see them moving anymore. However, if you find a tick on your puppy or adult dog, it might be a better idea to visit the veterinarian as tick removal is a bit more complicated. These arthropods have tight jaws that bite into the skin and suck blood. While doing this, they might be able to infect your puppy with any bacteria that they have previously ingested from other animals. Some of these bacteria can cause deadly diseases such as ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Lyme disease and many others. If you rip them off, without a special technique, the jaws might remain on the skin and cause a larger injury and lead to a skin infection.
What should I expect at the veterinarian?
Your veterinarian might prescribe baths, a chewable pill that helps get rid of ectoparasites or a tick collar. The outcome depends on how fast you get your puppy to the vet, how many fleas or ticks it was infested with and the care you give it after visiting the vet. Remember veterinarians can only go as far as the visit, but the most important thing is the care you can provide your dog within the long haul!