DULUTH, Ga., May 1 /PRNewswire/ — According to a recent survey(1) of veterinarians at the 2003 American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) annual meeting, flea- and tick-related diseases will pose a real threat to dogs this year. In the survey, flea allergy dermatitis was among the top three diseases veterinarians believe dogs will suffer from this spring and summer.
“”Although the season is just beginning, we are already seeing an increase in flea and tick infestations nationwide. The best advice for pet owners is to protect their dogs from fleas and ticks, particularly if they’re going to be outside or if they’re joining the family on vacation,”” said Dr. Robin Downing, veterinarian at Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Colorado. “”I make sure to tell my clients how important it is to put their pets on preventive products to protect against infestation of the pet and the home. I like Frontline® Plus, because it provides long-lasting protection against both fleas and ticks and is durable in water and sunlight.””
While veterinarians acknowledge that dog owners are equally as concerned about these flea and tick-borne diseases, they believe pet owners misunderstand the threat of mosquito-borne diseases. According to the survey, veterinarians do not see West Nile Virus as a threat to dogs, but are having to deal with increased pet owner concern.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) echoes the fact that veterinarians do not consider West Nile Virus a health threat to dogs. Abrochure, recently published by the AVMA, states West Nile Virus illness in dogs is rare. According to the AVMA, although it is possible for dogs to become infected with West Nile Virus, dogs very rarely become ill. Since dogs are naturally resistant to West Nile Virus it is unnecessary to use a mosquito repellent on dogs.
Common Flea- and Tick-Related Diseases
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Ranking among the top three concerns for veterinarians, flea allergy dermatitis is the most common cause of skin disease in dogs and results from an allergic reaction to the bite of the flea, leading to itching and self-trauma. The skin reaction and intense itching can lead to hair loss and skin lesions.
Veterinarians also expect to see more cases of canine ehrlichiosis this year. Ehrlichiosis, transmitted to dogs through the bite of infected brown dog ticks, is an infectious blood disease that attacks dogs’ white blood cells, crippling their immune system.
Lyme disease is the most commonly diagnosed tick-borne disease in dogs. Thedeer tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Infected dogs may exhibit lameness, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue and an abnormal enlargement of the lymph nodes.