Spring and Summer call for more walks with the dogs and more outdoor adventures for our cats. Not only are we and our pets more active but fleas and ticks are as well. Whether you’re
unsure if flea and tick prevention is right for your pet or are considering changing types of prevention, here are some things to consider.

Flea and tick prevention will be recommended to you based on your animal’s lifestyle. Many outdoor cats get into bushes and small areas where these critters can thrive so we will recommend a topical product called Senergy. NexGard is a flea and tick prevention that works by killing the flea or tick once it bites the animal and is used in our active dogs who go on hikes,
live near heavily wooded areas, or love outdoor adventures. Sentinel is a form of heartworm prevention that has a flea sterilizer component, meaning it will not kill the flea when it bites, but it will keep the flea from reproducing. This is for our dogs who go outside to potty and are right back inside or just stay on sidewalks in your neighborhood as they are at a lower risk for tick
exposure. Seresto Collars are a great option for those who want a preventative that doesn’t need monthly dosing. The collar will kill fleas and ticks for up to 8 months, just be sure to remove it during swimming or bathing for optimal efficacy.

Prevention is important for several reasons, one being because tick borne diseases are very prevalent in our dogs. Most of us have heard of the common Rickettsial diseases such as Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis and Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), but there are other diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Bartonella that can also cause significant problems in our pets. There are classic clinical signs for tick borne diseases which include fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes and sometimes lameness. We may also see changes in the CBC on bloodwork results that would make us consider an infectious disease as a differential diagnosis. Saying this, there are many medical cases where we are concerned for an infectious disease so we will place our patients on an antibiotic, Doxycycline, as a “Rule Out” since testing is not available for all Rickettsial diseases.

NC State has really been a leader in studying infectious diseases, especially Bartonella. The doctors at Whole Pet strive to find the cause of disease instead of just placing a bandaid to treat symptoms. Since most of our cats came to us as strays or through rescues, we have found that many common diseases in cats have an underlying infectious component. If cats have inflammatory conditions or a disease ending in -itis, we may want to test for Bartonella. Stomatitis (inflammation of gums), Asthma/Bronchitis (inflammation of lungs), and Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Gastroenterocolitis are just some of the diseases that may warrant further testing. NCSU is also looking into Bartonella as a possible contributing factor to developing hemangiosarcomas of the spleen which is sadly a very common cancer we find in our canine patients.

We diagnose flea and tick borne diseases in our patients regularly. Prevention is always key!
Especially when these diseases can be fatal in our patients and treatment can be difficult on
them. With offering both oral and topical forms of prevention, we can discuss the option that
best serves your pet and their lifestyle at any time. We encourage you to call or email us with
your questions/concerns.