With winter here and temperatures dropping, you may think it’s safe to skip a dose or two of your pet’s parasite prevention medication. After all, you hardly venture outdoors in such conditions, so what pest could possibly be lurking out there? The truth is, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks know no off-season and will eagerly feast on your pet whenever the opportunity arises. Here are three reasons why you should never skip your pet’s parasite prevention.
#1: Heartworm disease is difficult to treat in dogs
When an infected mosquito bites your pet and transmits immature heartworm larvae or microfilaria, it takes approximately six months for the worms to reach adulthood. While the worms are still immature, they’re much easier to eradicate, provided your pet stays on monthly heartworm prevention. A dog infected with adult heartworms may need to undergo months of treatment and exercise restriction and can suffer from serious or fatal side effects. And, while heartworm disease is difficult to eliminate in dogs, there’s no approved treatment for cats.
#2: Tick-borne diseases can cause lifelong illnesses
Ticks are hardy creatures, and so are the diseases they transmit. For example, if a black-legged tick transmits Lyme disease to your pet, antibiotics can knock down the pathogen load, but flare-ups can occur for the rest of their life. These flares can cause illness that is just as serious as the initial infection.
#3: Fleas can make an allergic pet itchy any time of year
You may think your pet with allergies is safe from itching and scratching during the winter, but if your furry pal is hypersensitive to flea bites, they still can suffer allergic reactions. The various flea life stages can lurk in your warm home environment all year long, waiting to emerge when your pet wanders nearby, and they can find their next meal. Once they hop aboard your pet, they’ll trigger a flurry of scratching and inflamed skin.