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Spring Has Sprung... and So Have Some Parasites and Pests

It’s that time of year again: heartworms, fleas, and ticks are out to party! #spring

I am pretty sure they are the only ones excited about this. As for us and our beloved pets, they are dreaded. Although this is the “season” for heartworms, fleas, and ticks, we deal with these diseases and pests year-round here in Oregon. Throughout the year we are often asked a variety of questions involving heartworms, fleas, and ticks. Here are some of the most frequent questions.

Are heartworms even in Oregon or do they just live in the southern states?

This is a common question. The answer is simple: all dogs are at risk. While cases of heartworm are much more common in the southern states (and more common even just in southern Oregon), there are cases reported throughout the state on a regular basis. The heartworm disease originates from mosquitoes who carry around the parasite. And we all know mosquitoes love our wet climate here in Portland! #Portland #Oregon #dogs

My dog is on a heartworm preventative, why do I have to test for heartworms every two years (and sometimes even once a year)?

According to the American Heartworm Society, annual testing ensures that the preventative medication (whether it be a topical like Advantage Multi or a chewable such as Heartgard) is working. There is no perfect preventative or medication in any situation. At our clinic we advise to test for heartworms at minimum every two years unless your pet is not on a preventative. Annual testing is crucial if your pet is not protected by a preventative because they are at a much greater risk. #heartworm

Do I have to use flea prevention year-round? Don’t the fleas die during the winter?

While flea “season” is typically spring and summer, Oregon’s mild climate allows for fleas to survive all year. It just does not get cold enough here to kill them off in the winter. The best way to avoid dealing with these pests is prevention – year-round prevention. #fleas

My pet has fleas – wouldn’t I just treat my pet? Why do I have to treat the environment (home and yard) as well?

If your pet is diagnosed with fleas, you may only be treating the adult fleas that live on your pet. By treating the environment, you are also treating for flea eggs (that hatch into larvae one to ten days later). The larvae can live five to eleven days before turning into pupae, then later turning into adults that live on your pet for upwards of 120 days. Many flea preventatives require the fleas to actually bite the dog or cat in order for the medication to kill them. #cats #pets

Do I need to prevent against ticks for my pet?

We recommend using a preventative product for ticks if you and your pet are outdoors a lot during the warmer months or if you travel to higher-risk areas (such as southern or eastern Oregon). Some flea preventatives have the tick prevention included (we carry Nexgard and Seresto collar), so you don’t have to worry about buying another product just for ticks. #ticks #travel #outdoors

The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association states it simply: “Prevention is simple compared to the expense and risk of treatment”. There are many different options for you to choose from for your pet; from collars to oral tablets or chews to topical products. Our veterinarians are available to help you create a customized prevention plan based on your pet’s needs. For more information please give us a call to schedule an appointment and check out this website for more information about your pets and parasites.

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