Pet Parasite Prevention Matters

pet parasite preventionAfter a particularly nasty winter, it’s hard not to be thrilled with the arrival of spring. The warm weather brings with it more than picnics and green grass, however. Pet parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and heartworm-carrying mosquitoes, arrive along with spring, and the diseases they carry can cause serious discomfort and illness to your pet.

At Berkeley Veterinary Center, your pet’s health, wellness, and longevity is our top priority, which is why we recommend year-round pet parasite prevention throughout the duration of your pet’s life.

Fleas and Ticks

Although your pet can contract fleas any time of the year, they tend to be more active in the spring and summer months. Fleas are extremely troublesome for both pets and people, and can cause skin irritation as well as transmit pathogens, such as cat scratch fever, tapeworm, and even the plague.

Ticks are capable of transmitting some pretty serious illnesses to your pet, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick-borne encephalitis. While it is rare to find a tick during a harsh Northeastern winter, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Pets should be on a year-round flea and tick preventive medication to protect them from the threat posed by these parasites.


Heartworm disease is arguably one of the most dangerous parasitic infections in pets. The bite of a single infected mosquito is all that’s required to pass the parasite to your pet. Once established, the microscopic worms grow in size and establish themselves in the heart and lungs, resulting in heart disease, respiratory problems, and other serious health issues. Heart disease is expensive and painful to treat in dogs, and almost always fatal in cats due to lack of effective treatment.

Year-round protection is a pet owner’s best bet when it comes to preventing heart disease in pets.

Reducing the Risk Through Pet Parasite Protection

Besides making year-round pet parasite protection a priority, there are other measures you can take to reduce your family’s exposure to parasites:

  • Tall grasses and overgrown brush offer an ideal breeding ground for fleas and ticks. Keep the vegetation near your home trimmed and remove any leaf or debris piles.
  • Remove any stagnant water around your home. Even a bit of water at the bottom of a watering can is a place for mosquitoes to breed.
  • Groom your pet regularly and perform tick checks after your pet has been outdoors.
  • Keep your pet indoors during dawn and dusk, when pests are more active.
  • Rats, mice, raccoons, and other wildlife are carriers of fleas and parasites. Discourage them from visiting your property with fencing, keeping compost and trash bins tightly covered, and by not feeding your pet outdoors.
  • Schedule bi-annual pet wellness exams to make sure your pet is healthy, from snout to tail, all year-round.

At Berkeley Veterinary Center, we encourage you to be proactive with your pet’s health. If you haven’t started your pet on a parasite prevention plan yet, or need a refill, please contact us!

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