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We love our pets: Pet tips and advice

Tips for you from our trusted veterinarians

We love our pets - tips and advice

When it comes to flea and tick control, a preventative approach is best.

"It's not only taking a preventative approach but choosing your approach wisely," said veterinarian, Alex Barrientos of Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital in Wappinger Falls. "When you are choosing what to do, be careful-the strongest and toughest are not necessarily the safest."

Pay attention to both a treatment's efficacy and potential harmful side-effects for your pet and family members.

While only 2 percent of the flea population is on pets, one tick can bite and infect your pet more than once. And, with the remaining 98 percent of fleas lurking in your pet's environment, ridding your house of the pests is important, especially since flea eggs can survive for up to two years in home. Plus, ticks are hardy-they can withstand winter months under snow cover.

Full Circle Veterinary Hospital in Wappingers Falls recommends a combination of traditional and holistic flea and tick prevention for pets, including topicals, collars and chewable tablets. Often external products consist of essential oils that deter biting bugs but don't kill them, leaving pets vulnerable to getting bitten from the insects.

Because tick-borne diseases can cause joint, organ and other potentially permanent problems that may or may not be evident, Full Circle does semi-annual blood tests for pets. As well, flea infestations can cause itching, severe skin irritations, loss of fur and mange. If a pet becomes ill from a bite, medication or hospitalization may be needed.

READ MORE: Protect your family from Lyme disease

"Just because it gets cold, doesn't mean that ticks have gone away," said Christine Pupek, Full Circle's practice manager. Go with whichever treatment suits your lifestyle, shesaid, and make it an on-going habit.

Veterinarian Hope Jankunas of Companion Pet Hospital in Fishkill and Carmel said it's a mistake to believe that pets confined to a home's yard aren't susceptible to flea and tick bites or to discount the insects if they aren't perceived a problem.

"We routinely see cats that are indoor pets and do get ticks and fleas," said Jankunas, possibly from other indoor/outdoor pets in the home or family members who may have tracked them in.

In fact, for every adult flea, she said, thousands of eggs and pupae are hiding in home's carpets and floorboards. Fortunately, there are many preventative products to choose from for dogs, cats and horses, including short- and longer-term treatments. Of the options, Jankunas prefers pharmaceutical solutions for tick control as she's found them highly effective. 

"It's much easier to prevent than to treat then prevent," she said.

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