Today, Thrive Pet Healthcare, a leading veterinary service network with about 400 locations across the U.S., advised dog and cat owners about the household health risks when pets are not protected year-round from external parasites such as fleas and ticks.
According to a Zoonoses Public Health study, pet owning households are at increased risk of finding ticks crawling on or attached to household members compared to households without pets.
Many flea- and tick-borne illnesses that may affect dogs and cats can equally affect humans. Bites from ticks that are infected with Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever can result in serious health conditions for pets and humans. Although less common, fleas can transmit infections and diseases to both pets and humans, including plague and murine typhus.
“Parasites are not picky. Fleas and ticks will bite humans just as easily as they will bite our pets, potentially putting everyone in the household at risk for illness or disease when dogs and cats are not on a year-round preventative regimen,” said Thrive Pet Healthcare Vice President of Medical Excellence and Education Dr. Kelly Cairns. “Veterinarian-prescribed flea and tick preventatives are the best way to protect your pet from harmful and sometimes deadly parasite-related illnesses.”
Dogs and cats can also be infected with heartworm disease, a potentially fatal illness carried by mosquitoes. Heartworms are spread by mosquito bites and can grow up to a foot long, living in the heart and lungs of the pet. Symptoms are often unnoticeable until irreversible damage has been done.
“Once your dog or cat is infected with heartworm disease, treatment can be very costly, have possible side effects and is not always successful,” said Dr. Cairns. “Ultimately, the risks of infection and high cost of treatment outweighs the cost of prevention.”
Some of the common myths about external parasite exposure in pets include:
- Myth: Indoor pets are not at risk.
Many parasites are mobile and can easily gain access to your home through an open door or window or be carried in by people or other pets.
- Myth: Parasites are not a problem for pets during the winter.
Climates can be unpredictable. While infection rates decrease in cold weather, the warm climate inside most homes during the winter months can be an attractive breeding ground for parasites. Also, pet owners who travel with their pets could potentially expose them to parasites.
- Myth: Only certain geographic regions of the country are prone to parasites.
Heartworm is found within mosquitoes in all 50 states. Anywhere there is soil, grass, moisture or vegetation, there is a potential for external parasites.
To encourage pet owners to invest in the long-term health and well-being of their pets, through May 31, select Thrive Pet Healthcare primary care hospitals will offer a 10 percent discount on 6- and 12-month supplies of Simparica, Simparica TRIO, Revolution PLUS and the annual injectable ProHeart 12.Thrive Plus members will receive an additional 10 percent off. To learn more about this parasite prevention promotion, common pet parasites and prevention options, click here.
Thrive Plus membership makes it easier and more cost-effective for pets to receive frequent, high-quality care throughout their life. Starting at $14.95 per month, members receive unlimited free exams, unlimited $5 nail trims and 10 percent off primary care services.