|Ticks and flea are both parasites but their feeding and biting habits are totally different. / Photo by: Napat via Shutterstock|
Just like any other pest, ticks and fleas can become a real concern, and for pet owners, they are two of their main problems. Although they can actually be seen during the whole year, they usually thrive more in the summer months. For those pets in the tropics, this can be very problematic. You might have seen your neighbor bringing their beloved pet to the hospital to check if there are ticks and fleas on its body. This is actually a major concern, especially for dog and cat owners. However, how do we actually know whether your pet has ticks or fleas?
According to the Synergy Labs page, a company that specializes in grooming aids and other health products for pets, there is a big difference between a tick and a flea. However, most owners will discount this fact since what they know is that both will have the same bad effect on their pets. It is a fact that both species are parasites and feed on other species for survival. They may be the same when it comes to parasitism, but their feeding and biting habits are totally different. Also, they appear very different from each other, so you’ll just have to familiarize yourself with whether your pet has a tick or flea problem.
What Exactly Is the Difference?
Ticks are very much related to spiders since they also belong to the family of arachnids. They are bigger than fleas, and they usually transfer from one host to another. Some ticks can live for up to three years and stay in one place on your pet. They burrow their heads down into your pet’s skin and feed on blood. They look a bit scarier than fleas and can actually cause more serious conditions for pets. If your dog has sensitive skin, then a bite from a tick can leave some marks or scabs. It is commonly advised that veterinary help be sought when dealing with ticks, especially if there is more than just one on your pet’s body.
Fleas are a bit smaller than ticks, usually the size of a needle’s head. If you have a dog or cat at home, chances are they’ll be having a party on your pet. They are jumpers and are colored black. They can actually feed on one pet to another since they can jump very high. You’ll notice some dark-colored material that looks like dirt on your pet’s skin if there is a flea infestation. This dark matter is considered to be their feces. Most pet owners will use a very fine comb made to remove fleas. Some will also use shampoos that can kill or eliminate them from your pet. Although there are products in the market that can remove these pests, it would be better to ask for your veterinarian’s advice first before using them.
|Fleas are a bit smaller than ticks and can feed on one pet to another since they can jump very high. / Photo by: Vera Larina via Shutterstock|
When to Be Concerned
Some ticks can actually cause very serious conditions to your pet and even to humans. In an article on the South Boston Animal Hospital page, the main website for this animal hospital, it was reported that Lyme disease can affect your pets if they have a tick problem. Symptoms include loss of appetite, swollen joints, kidney failure, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Another infection that can be lethal is Cytauxzoonosis, which is caused by tick bites. This is a more serious condition that ticks bring, and is considered to be very lethal.
|Symptoms of Lyme disease include loss of appetite, swollen joints, kidney failure, and swelling of the lymph nodes. / Photo by: Lindsay Helms via Shutterstock|
Getting Rid of Ticks and Fleas
More and more methods are being made available for pet owners to make sure that their beloved furry animals are protected against ticks and fleas. If infestation is already present, there are various ways one can follow to remove these pesky little critters.
1. Spot-on medication – most veterinary clinics offer spot-on medication for ticks and fleas. They can also be bought online and are typically recommended for use for a month. Just make sure that you read the label carefully before administering this treatment form.
2. Powder – this is the most common tick and flea buster for pets. If you are buying one, make sure that it kills both ticks and fleas. Apply directly on the skin of your pet in small amounts. Since it is in powder form, make sure that you do not overdo it since inhaling it can cause irritation to your pet.
3. Oral medicine – oral medications are given at least once a month to control the ticks and fleas. Usually, they work in combination with shampoos and powder. Before administering, make sure that you have asked your vet’s advice.
4. Dips – dips are more concentrated solutions that are very specific to the eradication of ticks in your pet. The dip solution is poured on the pet’s fur or applied using a sponge. It is not washed off, unlike other forms, and is allowed to stay for a while on your pet prior to rinsing. You should check your pet’s health condition first before using a strong tick dip.