Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention for Pets in La Porte, TX

Year-round heartworm, flea and tick protection is essential to the continued health of dogs and cats in and around La Porte, TX. Along with being bothersome pests, parasites can transmit diseases, some of which may be life-threatening without proper and timely treatment. At Bay-Porte Animal Hospital, our goal is two-fold: To prevent parasites from getting a foothold on your pet, and preventing the spread of parasite-transmitted diseases among companion animals (and occasionally their humans).

dog sitting on footpath, scratching, looking at camera. shallow dof

Heartworm in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes carrying heartworm larvae. When a mosquito takes a blood meal from an animal, the larvae it’s carrying enter the host’s bloodstream and begin their journey to the blood vessels around the heart and lungs, where they’ll remain and reproduce. As the heartworms grow in length (they can grow up to 12 inches long) and multiply, they put greater and greater strain on the heart and lungs. This causes chronic coughing, labored breathing, and forces the heart to pump much harder.

In cats, heartworm disease is much more dangerous because it takes fewer heartworms to cause fatality. In dogs, heartworm disease can be treated if the condition is caught in time, but the treatment itself is a costly process, and your pet may still have lasting damage from the disease.

Dogs and cats can both avoid this life-threatening condition if they receive monthly parasite preventatives which include heartworm prevention. Heartgard Plus is one of the leading heartworm preventatives for dogs, and many flea and tick preventatives for cats also protect against heartworm.

Cat on the car scratching his ear, sunlight

How Fleas can Affect Cats and Dogs

To say that fleas are a nuisance would be an understatement. Getting rid of an infestation can be frustrating at best, and these nasty little pests can cause a lot of irritation for our pets, too. One of the most common issues dogs and cats experience with fleas is itching of the skin. Worse, some pets can become allergic to flea bites, thanks to certain chemicals in flea saliva.

With the right flea prevention, your pet can remain flea-free and comfortable, and you can rest easy knowing that your home is flea-free, as well. If you do need help conquering a flea infestation in your home, don’t hesitate to contact us—we’ll have recommendations for you!

Tick-Borne Diseases

Ticks are a growing threat throughout the US, which means that tick-borne diseases are also a greater risk. These diseases include:

  • Lyme disease – Lyme disease is spread by the deer tick (also known as the blacklegged tick). Only about 10% off dogs affected will show clinical signs, which include pain, lameness, fever, and depression.
  • Ehrlichiosis – The brown dog tick is the primary vector for this disease, which causes fever, depression, stiffness, difficulty walking, and coughing.
  • Anaplasmosis – Also known as dog fever or dog tick fever, anaplasmosis is transmitted via the bite of a deer tick and infects the white blood cells.
  • Babesiosis – Babesiosis infection is caused by protozoan parasites that invade the red blood cells, causing anemia. This disease is transmitted by the brown dog tick.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – Dogs are highly susceptible to this disease, which causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling (edema) of the face and limbs, coughing, abdominal pain, and more. RMSF is primarily spread via the American dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick.

In addition to preventing tick bites and infestations, consistent, year-round treatment with parasite preventatives should also protect your pet against these tick-borne diseases.

Ways to Protect Your Pet (and Home) Against Ticks

Ticks are sneaky—they’ll lie in wait in wooded areas, tall grasses, and other kinds of brush for a host to pass by, so they can latch on and spend as much time as they need getting a blood meal. To reduce your pet’s chances of encountering ticks in their environment, be sure to:

  • Walk them on cleared paths/trails with minimal brush and low vegetation
  • Keep shrubs and grasses around your property cut back from the lawn
  • Avoid heavily wooded areas with your pet
  • Check your shoes, socks, clothes, and hair for ticks if you’ve been outdoors
  • Check your pet’s fur, ears, paws (especially between the pads), and under their tail for ticks

Flea and tick preventatives are essential to keeping ticks (and tick-borne diseases) off your pet. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are a threat throughout virtually the entire year, so be sure your pet has complete, year-round protection.

First person perspective of dog walker with Vizsla dog.  North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada