We are big on parasite prevention here at American Animal Hospital! Today, we want to tell you all about it. It all starts with your annual wellness exams! At American Animal Hospital, your pet’s health and comfort are of utmost importance. We believe preventive care is essential for a long and happy life. We recommend annual wellness exams which focus on prevention. By seeing your pet at least once a year, we can detect disease or illness before it becomes a serious health concern. By seeing your pet every year, we develop a comprehensive health profile which helps us to look at trending issues such as weight or blood work results.

A comprehensive exam at American Animal Hospital includes a full snout to tail physical exam. We screen yearly for internal parasites and common diseases such as Lyme and Heartworm. Our vaccine protocol is customized to your pet’s lifestyle. We promote vaccine titers versus just automatically administering vaccines every 3 years. We believe that checking antibody levels before routinely vaccinating, decrease vaccine reactions and other possible complications. The cost to titer is about the same as the vaccine. Don’t worry, should your pet’s titer come back low, the vaccine is no charge!

Is your pet on a regular tick preventive? Here are eight reasons she should be:

#1: Lyme disease

Transmitted by the deer tick after feeding on a dog or cat for about 48 hours, Lyme disease can cause lameness, fever, reduced appetite, swollen lymph nodes and joints, kidney disease, nervous system disorders, and heart problems. There is a Lyme disease vaccine available for dogs, but not for cats.

#2: Ehrlichiosis

Less than a month after a tick bite, a dog may show signs of ehrlichiosis, which can include diminished appetite, depression, bruising, and painful joints. There is no vaccine available for ehrlichiosis, and antibiotics are often given to treat the disease.

#3: Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Both dogs and cats can be infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but it is most common in dogs. This disease can cause lameness and painful joints, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, depression, and reduced appetite. Severe cases can lead to liver and kidney damage, heart abnormalities, pneumonia, and seizures. No vaccine is available, and antibiotics are used to treat Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

#4: Babesiosis

Babesiosis can affect dogs and cats, but signs of the disease—depression, pale gums, fever, dark urine, swollen lymph nodes, sudden collapse, and shock—are typically more severe in dogs. There is no vaccine for babesiosis.

#5: Tularemia

Ticks and fleas can transmit tularemia. Cats may experience nasal discharge, swollen lymph nodes, and a high fever, while dogs may exhibit depression, reduced appetite, and a fever. There is no vaccine for tularemia, and antibiotics are used to treat the disease.

#6: Tick paralysis

Caused by a toxin secreted by ticks that affects the nervous system in mammals, tick paralysis can cause a dog’s rear legs to become weak about 7 days after a tick bite. Eventually, all limbs are weak, and the dog can experience difficulty breathing and swallowing, and even death. An antitoxin is available for tick paralysis.

#7: Anaplasmosis

Dogs and cats infected with anaplasmosis may exhibit pain in the joints, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and nervous system abnormalities. Antibiotics may be necessary to treat anaplasmosis.

#8: Cytauxzoonosis

Cytauxzoonosis can cause cats to become anemic, develop a high fever, become depressed, have difficulty breathing, and become jaundiced (yellowing of the skin). Death can occur within one week of infection. Treatment is often unsuccessful but can include specialized medications, intravenous fluids, and supportive care. There is no vaccine for cytauxzoonosis.

If your pet is not on a parasite prevention medication, please contact us immediately to get them started!

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