How To Check Your Dog For Ticks And Chiggers, Along With The Importance Of Giving Them A Yearly Heartworm Medication
When it comes to our dog’s health, it’s one of the more important things to keep an eye on. In addition, as many dog owners know, when spring, and summer arrives, so does Tick and Chigger season. Although Ticks, and Chiggers can appear all year round, depending on where you live, we will discuss here how you can check for Ticks and Chiggers, as well as treatment options. Furthermore, we will also discuss the importance of giving your best friend a yearly Heartworm medication, so read on to learn more.
Let us start with a couple of facts first about Ticks and Chiggers. They are not, as some believe, insects, they are in fact, arachnids, yes closely related to spiders and such. With that said, there are four basic stages to the life of a Tick, or Mite (Chiggers), and they are, egg, larva, nymph and adult. Now, to grow they must shed their skin periodically, this is referred to as molting, and this happens at each stage of their life cycle. Keeping that thought in mind, Adult Chiggers are often referred to as Harvest Mites, so let us look at how to recognize if our dog has these two types of pests, and how to treat it when it does happen.
Fleas and Ticks are pretty easy to spot on your dog because they are bigger than Chiggers, and can be removed fairly easily using a pair of tweezers. However, this is not ideal as it can take a long time, especially if your dog has many of them. Therefore, a dip would be recommended, which can be bought from a pet store, or your Vet. However, controlling Chiggers on the other hand, is a different matter, as they are much smaller, and you can barely see them with the naked eye.
Chiggers are, so small it can look like paprika powder, so you should check for orange rash like areas on the belly or groin area, or the head and legs. Now, as with Ticks there are a few treatment options available to remove, and prevent Chiggers. In addition, the most common one is using a pyrethrin based dip, which would be given a couple of weeks apart. Alternatively, you can shop for an anti-parasite medication, and apply it to the local area, if it isn’t too bad. However, if the infestation is severe, a trip to your local Vet could prove useful for injection treatment options. In addition, these treatments can help prevent the itching, which will occur and can lead to infection.
Furthermore, it is important to especially treat Ticks, because with virtually all types of Ticks, they can spread disease, like Lyme disease. Nevertheless, there are many types of diseases that Ticks can spread, and although Lyme disease is rare, it can happen, and dogs can get it too. However, the best treatment of course, is prevention, as there are steps you can take to prevent, or at least, keep the risk factor low. Keep in mind, that when bitten by these pests the itching can be very persistent, and last for days or even weeks. People, and their dogs generally get Ticks, and Chiggers from dense brush, wooded areas, and tall grass. Furthermore, this can take place more especially in the warmer months. Therefore, it is recommended to try, and stay to clearings and trails as much as possible.
The Importance of A Yearly Heartworm Medication
Heartworm is a serious concern for dog owners, because it can lead to death for your dog, and also very expensive Vet bills for treatment once the dog has Heartworm. Additionally, it is treatable once your dog has Heartworm, but the best course of treatment is prevention and we cannot stress this enough. It is a very preventable disease and relatively cheap to administer Heartworm preventive medications. There are a few things we should discuss thought regarding this horrible disease.
Firstly, your dog can only get Heartworm from a mosquito bite, and we know, this is not reassuring because there are millions of mosquitoes buzzing around during spring and summer. Once a dog has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes up to 7 months for the worm to reach adult, or maturity. These worms can breed inside your dog, and they lodge in the heart, lungs and surrounding vessels to breed, they can reach a length of up to 12 inches, live more than 6 years, and one dog can have up to as many as 250 worms.
Furthermore, there have been reported cases in all 50 states, so it is important to take preventive measures with your best friend. Now, you should not just start your dog on preventive medications for Heartworm, always make a Vet visit to have the pet tested for Heartworm first. This is because, if you treat your dog with a preventative medication, and he or she already has Heartworm, this can lead to very serious complications, as the medication is not targeted for adult worms, which may already be present.
Prevention is key when it comes to Heartworm. Preventive treatments can run anywhere between $30 and $100 annually, depending on brand and where you live, or what store you buy it from. Keep in mind, that treatment of an infected dog with Heartworm can run as much as $1,000, or more with all the tests, x-rays, injections and follow ups. Finally, we love our dogs, and want what is best for them, and that includes their health, so it is a very wise dog owner who will take Heartworm medication seriously for their pet, and give them a long and healthy life with these preventable measures.