Fleas and Ticks Pose Problems for Pets

<b>Fleas and Ticks Pose Problems for Pets</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – It happens every summer — your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, whether he is playing, hiking or camping, only to end up with swollen ticks on his ears or belly hours later. But parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are not just a summer menace. They can infect pets at any time.

Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), Banfield Pet Hospital’s (www.banfield.net) internal research team, recently reviewed more than 2.2 million health records obtained from dog and cat visits in 2009. Fleas are the most common parasite in kittens under six months, middle-aged dogs and senior dogs and cats. Their research also shows that May is the peak season for ticks, and October is the peak season for fleas, making parasites an ongoing concern for pet owners.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks, is the most commonly reported vector-transmitted disease. And research suggests that dogs are twice as likely to develop Lyme disease as humans living in the same area.

Parasites are more than annoyances — they spread disease, not only to your pets, but to other members of your family as well. Fleas and ticks “are responsible for potentially severe allergic reactions, tapeworm infections and can cause severe anemia and death in young, sick or debilitated pets,” explained Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield.

Preventing fleas and ticks is a critical part of a pet’s health care, but pet owners should speak to their veterinarian before attempting treatments.

“Flea and tick preventive care products, like powders, sprays and spot-on treatments, offer varying degrees of efficacy and safety. Additionally, the huge number of products available can make selecting the proper preventive care product overwhelming to Pet owners,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield.

Getting flea and tick products directly from your veterinarian helps ensure pet safety, as veterinarians instruct pet owners in proper dosage and application. Pet owners should also ask veterinarians about flea and tick products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as FirstShield.

“At Banfield, preventive care is the cornerstone of our practice — that includes everything from routine vaccines and twice-annual comprehensive physical examinations to recommending the safest and most effective flea and tick preventive product that is right for the pet and their family,” said Johnson.

For more information, visit www.banfield.net.

Is Your Pet’s Bad Breath Dogging You?

<b>Is Your Pet’s Bad Breath Dogging You?</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Your pet is a beloved family member. You buy him comfy pillows and squeaky toys, premium kibble and trips to the groomer. But if you’re like most pet owners, you’re neglecting a major part of pet medical care — their mouth.

Oral disease, which includes periodontal disease or gum disease, is the most common disorder in cats and dogs. The internal research team of Banfield, The Pet Hospital (www.banfield.net), supports findings that 68 percent of cats and 78 percent of dogs over the age of 3 display signs of oral disease, including bad breath, pain while chewing, weight loss, yellow teeth, red or swollen gums, missing teeth, nasal discharge or tearing or swelling below one eye. There are four stages of periodontal disease, starting with mild plaque and gingivitis and progressing to major gum recession and tooth loss.

Dogs and cats use their mouths like we use our hands, so dental disease can seriously affect their ability to eat and play. Worse, evidence suggests a link between gum disease and other serious health problems.

“Periodontal disease has also been associated with changes in a pets’ kidneys, liver and cardiac functions,” said Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield. “In short, unhealthy teeth can lead to an unhealthy pet in ways pet owners can’t imagine.”

Experts emphasize that prevention is the best medicine. For example, Banfield hospitals, most of which are located in PetSmart stores nationwide, include comprehensive dental care in two of their Optimum Wellness Plan options, which are packages of preventive care services. In addition to regular exams, Banfield recommends that pet owners brush their pets’ teeth every day, or at least two or three times a week. Feeding pets firm kibble can help slow down plaque formation, as can dental chew toys and dental-specific water additives.

“In addition to professional cleanings, our veterinarians are trained to provide a manageable at-home dental plan that pet owners can easily follow,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield. “At Banfield, preventive care is the cornerstone of our practice — to us, proper dental care is just as important to the long-term health of a pet as routine vaccinations.”

For more information or to find a local Banfield hospital, visit www.banfield.net.