Parasites: Is Your Bully at Risk?

15 Jun Parasites: Is Your Bully at Risk?

Do you make regular trips to the vet (hyperlink to vet article) with your bully? If so, you’re familiar with the high cost parasite prevention. Heart worm medication and flea and tick protection can often cost more than the exam itself.

It is easy to think “I’ll get it next time,” or “I don’t have to worry about that stuff around my house.” Unfortunately, these excuses could put your dog and your family in danger.

A Parasitic Haven

External parasites thrive in overgrown, wooded, and unkempt areas. But don’t assume your dog can’t come into contact with fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes on your evening walk. (Your backyard can also be dangerous).

Ticks are usually found in wooded areas, but some prefer a different type of environment.

With regards to fleas, all it takes is an infected raccoon, rat, or bird to spend time in a corner of your yard. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae can survive and develop into mature fleas without a host. They seek out insulated areas, like porches, doghouses, piles of leaves and debris, to reproduce.

Don’t count on freezing temperatures to rid you of these pests. The micro-environments they create protect them from freezing temperatures.

Common Skin Parasites Your Bully May Encounter

Fleas

Fleas can be deadly to puppies and small dogs, but their general offenses are discomfort, itching and hair loss. Most dogs suffer from flea bite sensitivity.

Some can develop more serious conditions, like pruritus. Fleas can also give tapeworms to dogs and humans if ingested. This usually occurs during grooming.

Ticks

Your Bully is at risk of several diseases from a single tick bite. Ticks prefer areas such as the head, ears, neck and feet, but will attach themselves in other places.

Tick bites can cause anemia and tick paralysis. They can also lead to  Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, both which can be fatal.

During warm seasons, you should check for ticks often. If you find a tick, use caution when removing it. Contact with tick blood can expose you and your Bully to diseases. A few hours is all it takes for disease to be transmitted. So, it’s best to have your bully evaluated right away.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are the main culprit when it comes to the spread of Heartworm. Fortunately, heartworm is 99.9% preventable if you take the proper precautions.

Mites

There are several species of mites, and some live in perfect harmony with your Bully. There are a few, though, that can cause serious health problems.

Mange is a condition where several mites inhabit the hair follicles and skin. This leads to irritation, hair loss, scabbing and scaly skin. Most dogs that develop severe Mange have an underlying genetic or immune issue.

If Mange is localized, it should heal on its own. But in severe, general, chronic cases, medication may be required.

To prevent Mange,  maintain your bully’s health and screen him for underlying conditions. Also, refrain from breeding infected dogs as the condition can pass from mother to pup.

Best Practices to Protect Your Bully from Parasites

VCA Animal Hospitals provides the following tips for preventing a parasite infestation:

  • Take your dog for annual checkups and have him tested. Do not assume all necessary testing comes with a wellness check.
  • Focus on prevention! Stay up to date on heartworm, flea and tick medicine. De-worm puppies at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks old.
  • Only feed your dog cooked or prepared food. Provide fresh water in a clean dish daily.
  • Keep your yard clean. Cut grass and maintain shrubbery. Prevent standing water and clear out mice and rat nests immediately. Also keep your dog away from feces and fluids whenever possible.


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