When Prevention Hurts…Things to know about Flea and Tick Prevention Safety

It’s that time of year again when we are starting to see those annoying, pesky, and even dangerous fleas and ticks! Luckily, we have come such a long way with prevention options for these pests.  Most people don’t realize that there was little options for us against fleas prior to 1989. This invention of flea prevention has been one of  the major events that have been credited with the transition to more of our pets become pampered indoor pooches and felines! 

Transition to 2019, just 30 years later, and it probably feels you are inundated with options, commercials, and recommendations for flea and tick prevention. We often tell people that there is no perfect flea and tick prevention, just the perfect one for you, your pet, and your lifestyle. If you want some more information, take a look at our flea and tick blog post: https://www.blueridgeanimalhospital.com/blog/whats-bugging-you-updates-of-flea-and-tick-medication/

While you have options for excellent flea and tick prevention, there is also the dangers of using the wrong kind!  There is also the concern with certain over-the-counter tick prevention and how safe they are. Please contact us and do your research prior to making a change! Sometimes the cheaper products can cause you more expensive treatment in the long-run. 

Our wonderful member Desiree has been receiving a number of phone calls with concerns for flea and tick applications and reactions over the past few weeks. Because of this, she felt it important to help discuss concerns and recommendations through our blog!

She created the following list of guidelines to help make everyone’s life a bit easier. As always, if you have any questions or you are seeing any unusual reactions to medications, contact us or the emergency clinic immediately. 

  • First and foremost, use correct dosing for pet, if unsure please contact us and we will weigh your pet to insure proper dose is being used. Even when dealing with dogs, we need to make sure we are not under or over dosing the pet, although most flea treatments are very safe in some levels of overdosing it is still best to avoid this scenario.
  • Reactions to flea and tick medication can not only come from applying it to the incorrect pet, but also if a cat licks the topical prevention off of a dog, is best to separate them if possible for at least 3 hours. 
  • You can bathe with 30 minute of application if you are concerned as long as your pet is not showing other signs such as tremors, then needs to go directly to a veterinarian. But do not put you or yourself in harms way by trying to bathe your feline friend. 
  • Be aware that some toxins can also be found in some insect sprays, flea spray, and shampoos, they’re normally safe for both dogs and cats, but still be aware of what chemicals you’re using in your home. 
  • Chemicals toxic to cats are called pyrethrins, although very safe for dogs they’re extremely toxic to cats. Cats lack the ability to quickly metabolize these toxins.  Pyrethrins are actually natural chemicals derived from the Chrysanthemum flower (commonly called the “mum”), while pyrethroids are synthetic derivatives (made by man). Common chemical names for pyrethroids include the following – note, they typically end with a “thrin.”

o Allethrin

o Deltamethrin

o Cypermethrin

o Permethrin

o Cyphenothrin

Signs of poisoning in a cat can be severe and include the following: 

  • Agitation
  • Drooling or vomiting (typically due to grooming the product off and tasting the bitter chemical)
  • Lethargy
  • Facial twitching
  • Ear twitching
  • Hiding 
  • Walking “drunk”
  • Gastrointestinal signs (such as inappetance, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Warm to the touch (secondary to tremoring and hyperthermia)
  • Seizures
  • Death

Animal poison control center can be reached at: (888) 426-4435

Brands recommended and safe for cats are: Bravecto, Frontline, revolution, or Seresto collars. Again make sure it is the feline concentration as well as proper weight class.

Remember, even if your cat or dog doesn’t go outside, they can still come in contact with fleas and ticks. We do recommend keeping your pet on flea and tick prevention to help prevent not only the distress that comes from these creatures, but also the dangers and diseases they carry!

Don’t forget, we want to hear from you! What would you like to learn about or know more? Let us know!

The Wonders of Acupuncture

Many of you know June as being an integral part of Blue Ridge as well as that voice on the phone. Did you also know she is a talented writer?! For our next blog post, we asked if she could share her story about her very own Duncan.

Wonders of Acupuncture

As a 3 month old puppy, Duncan, my Labrador Retriever destined for glory in the Obedience Trial show ring, was involved in a car accident with a deer.  He was in a crate in the car, sized for the adult Lab he would become instead of the safer size appropriate crate he should have been in. He was sleeping soundly, facing forward, when the impact came and his little body slammed into the front of his crate at 35 mph.  He seemed okay at first but was sore and gimpy the next day and an exam by his veterinarian found nothing to be concerned about and was ordered home to rest and take an NSAID medication for a few days. Over the next few months, he became slowly but surely more sore in his front legs.  Radiographs were inclusive and it continued to worsen; at 10 months of age, he was referred for a second opinion by a specialist. They took additional x-rays and diagnosed Elbow Dysplasia of Traumatic Origin. With that diagnosis, my dreams for his career in the Trial ring went up in smoke because I knew I could never have him jumping but more importantly, I knew he faced a life time of issues.  The specialist did surgery on both elbows the very next day which entailed cleaning up both elbow joints and the caveat that this procedure would give him relief for a while but eventually, he would develop arthritis in both elbows much sooner than the average dog. They advised that once he was past the post surgical recuperation and rehab, I could allow him to do whatever he wanted to do activity wise.  So, I faithfully rehabbed my 10 month old Lab pup by restricting exercise for 6 weeks which as one can imagine takes a lot of ingenuity and patience!

Water therapy

After the six weeks were up, we started water rehab which he grew to love because he got to retrieve stuff from the cool water over and over for a half hour 4 times a week during the following summer.

Fast forward 8 years during which time, he loved life.  Passionate about retrieving, he made it his mission to be the first one to the ball or bumper or stick and he pounded hard after it.  His elbows were thicker and fatter than they should have been but he rarely complained. He had his own specialized way of handling stairs that, while unconventional, worked for him  But as the years wore on, I could count on him needing a few days of medication after a particularly active weekend more and more frequently. Since his surgery, we gave him joint support and Omega 3 supplements daily and had him on a diet formulated to aid in joint support.  Annual radiographs of his elbows showed a slow and steady increase in arthritic changes in the elbows but he did not slow down nor did I ask him to. His joy in experiencing life, and all it had to offer, was not something I wanted to deny him.

When he began walking oddly, throwing one front leg or the other slightly out to the side when walking, and being a bit more reluctant to retrieve, we decided to give acupuncture a try and see how, or if, he responded to it.  I was amazed after Dr. Jessica Tracy administered the very first treatment to find him walking normally (for him at least) and his eagerness to retrieve and join us for hikes renewed. Even my husband, who is not accustomed to watching for the subtle things like that, noticed a big difference.  I could tell every time when the benefits began to wear off.

Acupuncture needles

His elbows will always be a problem to some extent but, after all these years, to find something that relieves his pain so quickly and successfully is exciting.  And seeing it give him this relief for several weeks after each treatment is wonderful.

Oh, and the added benefit here is that he loves having the acupuncture done!  As Dr. Tracy inserts each needle into it’s correct location, he barely even acknowledges their presence and five minutes into the treatment, he is super relaxed and falling asleep.  It is nothing short of amazing to me to watch the immediate as well as the after affects of acupuncture. Will it work this well for every animal? Maybe. And maybe even more so. One thing is for certain, it does no harm and, in Duncan’s case, it does extreme good!